A century from Stephen Murdoch, coupled with Hamish Bennett's seven-wicket match haul, propelled Wellington to an innings-and-43-run win over Otago inside three days of the Plunket Shield game at Basin Reserve. Wellington's win amounted to Otago's second consecutive loss this year, having finished at the bottom of the table last season.
Wellington's offensive with the ball helped them snipe out 15 wickets on the second day, bowling the opposition out for 184. A formidable lead of 185 meant Wellington could enforce follow-on and have an early shot at bringing up their second victory in as many games. The Otago line-up's first-innings struggle - in which six of their batsman got starts but none could notch up a half-century - aggravated further in the second as only two players - captain Rob Nicol and Jimmy Neesham - went past the 30-run mark. Having been reduced to 107 for 6 at stumps on day two, it was only a matter of time before the remaining four batsmen were undone for only 142 runs inside the 20.3 overs bowled on the third day.
Leading the charge for the Wellington attack in both innings was right-arm pacer Bennett who bettered his first-innings three-for with figures of 4 for 30 in the second. Bennett, who took his Shield tally to 12 scalps from two games, found ample support in fellow seamers Ian McPeake and Logan van Beek, who finished with a five-wicket match haul of his own.
Wellington's dominance in the match was, however, established early via Murdoch who waltzed to his 13thfirst-class century after his side lost the toss. The No. 3 batsman countered the loss of the two openers which had Wellington tottering at 33 for 2 in the 11th over. Murdoch put on 113 runs for the third wicket with captain Michael Bracewell, who struck an 83-ball 43. After Bracewell's dismissal, Murdoch added another 66 runs with wicketkeeper Tom Blundell, before holing out to Jacob Duffy off Anaru Kitchen in the 66th over. Two fifty-plus partnerships - anchored by Jeetan Patel's 64 - for the seventh and the eighth wickets subsequently took Wellington to 369, before being bowled by Neil Wagner, allowing him to complete his four-for. Kitchen and Michael Rae finished with three wickets each.