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(D/N), Wellington, March 06 - 09, 2017, Plunket Shield
(f/o) 98 & 304

Match drawn


Otago lower-order heroics deny Wellington

A round-up form the latest action in the Plunket Shield which featured the first round of pink-ball floodlit matches

Ish Sodhi took 7 for 107 at Seddon Park before rain swept in  •  Associated Press

Ish Sodhi took 7 for 107 at Seddon Park before rain swept in  •  Associated Press

Wellington were denied the chance to move closer to the top of the table by a defiant Otago lower order at the Westpac Stadium. Otago's eighth-wicket pair of Sam Wells (118) and Nathan Smith (59) added 141 as their team survived having been made to follow-on. They began the final day 59 for 4 in their second innings which became 135 for 7 - still a deficit of 69 - but Wells and Smith repelled Wellington for the next 53 overs. Wells made his fourth first-class hundred and when he fell there was enough resistance from the last two wickets - Smith batted for three and a half hours - to ensure Wellington would not have time for the chase. On the opening day Michael Papps had become New Zealand's first century maker against the pink ball. Hamish Bennett then helped conjure the chance of a result after the second day was washed out as his 4 for 19 skittled Otago for 98 - the last eight wickets falling for 44 - but despite the continued effort of Bennett, alongside Brent Arnel, they were thwarted.
Canterbury remained leaders after their match against Auckland at Eden Park turned into a quest for bonus points following the middle two days being washed out. On the ground set to host the floodlit Test against England next year, Canterbury slipped to 25 for 4 before they were rescued by fifth-wicket stand of 183 between Ken McClure (92) Andrew Ellis (103) which lifted them to 305 for 8 after the opening day. The next two days were lost and on the last Auckland made 333 as wicketkeeper Ben Horne (93) fell just short of a maiden first-class hundred. Legspinner Todd Astle finished with 5 for 75. There had been a first-class debut for Glenn Phillips, who made his New Zealand T20 debut against South Africa last month, while it was Mitchell McClenaghan's first first-class outing since December 2015.
Rain also ruined the match-up between Northern Districts and Central Districts in Hamilton, but Ish Sodhi and Seth Rance achieved significant personal success. On the opening day Sodhi, who was left out of the Test squad to face South Africa, claimed 7 for 107 as Central Districts fell from 176 for 2 to 272 for 9 when they declared in the night-time session. The move worked a treat as Rance ripped through the Northern Districts top order, ending the first day with 4 for 6 and a career-best 6 for 31 overall. Adam Milne, also making a first-class comeback after 15 months, bowled 14 wicketless overs but scored an unbeaten 51. Northern Districts remained second and Central Districts bottom with three rounds to play.

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