Williamson double-ton sinks Wellington
Kane Williamson's career-best score of 284 not out was the highlight of a clinical team performance by Northern Districts that saw them thrash Wellington by an innings and 230 runs at the Lincoln No. 3 Ground. Northern Districts put Wellington in and Tim Southee ripped through Wellington's line-up, picking up 7 for 37 as Wellington were skittled for 162. Williamson then ensured his team got a 446-run first-innings lead with his first double-century in first-class cricket, and in Wellington's second innings it was Northern Districts' spinners who were among the wickets to complete an all-round performance and their first win of the season.
Northern Districts dominated the match from the start: Southee picked up a wicket with the last ball of the third over of the game, and in the next 22-year-old left-arm seamer Trent Boult struck twice to leave Wellington 12 for 3. Stephen Murdoch scored a half-century and stitched together a 101-run stand with Grant Elliott but Southee came back and took six wickets in a remarkable six-over spell to end Wellington's innings in just 54.4 overs.
Northern Districts seized control of the game by the end of the first day itself, with Williamson and Brad Wilson laying a solid foundation. On the second day, the rest of Northern Districts' middle order did a fair job of supporting Williamson, who got his runs at a strike-rate of 71.00 and hit 31 fours and a six in his mammoth innings.
Wellington were staring down the barrel when Northern Districts declared 11 overs into the fourth day on 608 for 9 but they would have been disappointed to not even stretch the match to a fourth day. They lost wickets at regular intervals, with Daniel Vettori picking up 3 for 28 and Williamson following up his double-ton with three wickets, and were bowled out for 216 in 82.2 overs.
A shocking collapse from Otago on the third day saw them bowled out for 63, giving Central Districts an innings-and-seven-run-victory at the Bert Sutcliffe Oval in Lincoln. It was a bizarre twist in a match that had been fairly evenly poised at the start of the third day, with Otago 41 runs behind with nine wickets in hand. They could only add another 34 runs to their overnight score of 29 for 1, with fast bowler Michael Mason completing a six-wicket haul and legspinner Tarun Nethula bagging three wickets. Seamer Adam Milne struck with the second ball of the third day and Mason and Nethula went about wrecking the rest of Otago's line-up. There were only three double-digit scores for Otago and seven batsmen were dismissed for scores of 3 or less. It was a remarkable turnaround from Otago's first game, when it had been them who bowled Canterbury out for 61 in their second innings to earn a win.
Otago had been put in on the first day and were bowled out for 207 with Nethula taking a career-best 6 for 32. Sam Wells scored 57 and Otago were 127 for 3 at one stage but the middle and lower order could not build on the base. Seamers Neil Wagner and Ian Butler made sure Central Districts could not get a big first-innings lead, taking seven wickets between them to bowl Central Districts out for 277. At one stage they had Central Districts at 99 for 4 but Ben Smith scored 52 and Kruger van Wyk got 72 to ensure their team got the lead.
Still, it was only a 70-run lead and Central Districts would have expected to have been made to work for the win. The collapse of 34 for 9 on the third day, though, meant they did not even have to bat again.
The only game that went the distance ended in a draw as Canterbury and Auckland registered a stalemate at Mainpower Oval in Rangiora. Canterbury got eight points out of the fixture with a first-innings lead, while Auckland had to settle for five points. Canterbury's dominance was based on Dean Brownlie's 171 off 268 balls, with 22 fours and three sixes. After Canterbury had slipped to 146 for 4, Brownlie steadied the innings in Reece Young's (80 off 125) company, before propelling them forward in partnership with Andrew Ellis (97 off 70 balls).
Auckland's reply was a curious affair, with two of the top four bagging ducks, and eight of their wickets falling for contributions under 16. Willie Lonsdale was the main destroyer, picking up 4 for 82 in 23 overs, while Todd Astle took three wickets. The men who got in, though, - Martin Guptill and Colin de Grandhomme - struck it rich. Guptill powered to 195, while de Grandhomme made 117 off 134 balls. Their 211-run sixth wicket stand formed the backbone of the innings, but Auckland still fell 111 runs short of a lead.
George Worker hit a ton in Canterbury's reply, as they declared at 243 for 9, setting up a stiff chase of 354 on the final day. Guptill began aggressively, but the rest of the top order played it safe. Gareth Hopkins ended with an unbeaten 63 before the teams called it off, with Auckland at 196 for 4. They stayed at second spot in the table, while Canterbury were fifth, four points ahead of last-placed Wellington.