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Peter Ingram hit a 210-ball 159, his fourth State Championship hundred, to take Central Districts to 375 for 6 on the opening day's play against Canterbury at Napier.
With Geoff Barnett on duty for Canada at the World Cup, Ingram was promoted as opener and put on 175 with Mathew Sinclair (78) after 16-year-old debutant Corey Anderson removed Jamie How for 34. Tim Weston (34 not out) and Robbie Schaw (12 not out) were together at stumps. Brandon Hiini (2for 76) and Chris Harris (1 for 49) the pick of the Canterbury bowlers.
Canterbury began the game in third place, and need an outright win for a place in the final.
Otago's opening bowlers James McMillan and Bradlet Scott shared eight wickets to bowl Auckland out for 226 on day one of their State Championship game at Dunedin's University Oval. McMillan, a right-arm fast-medium bowler, picked up 4 for 74 while Scott, a left-arm pacer, took 4 for 42 after captain Craig Cumming decided to bowl. Auckland were reduced to 129 for 8 before Mayu Pasupati and Pieter Erasmus (15) added 82 for the ninth wicket. Pasupati, on debut, finished with an unbeaten 76.
By stumps, Otago were 10 for no loss. Auckland require an outright victory to keep any hopes of reaching the final.
Half-centuries from Neal Parlane, Stu Mills and Chris Nevin helped Wellington get their chances of a final berth off to a good start against Northern Districts at the Basin Reserve. Parlane fell three short of a hundred, Nevin, the former international wicketkeeper made 59, and Mills was unbeaten on 54 as the hosts closed the first day on 301 for 8.
Graeme Aldridge was again in the wickets, with 3 for 56, while Te Ahu Davis had 3 for 96 from 23 overs.
ND held a four-point lead in the table going into the final match of the regular season, with victory assuring them home field advantage in the final. Wellington need to better Canterbury's final-round result to claim a final place. If they complete an outright win, it should guarantee them a second successive home final, and third in four years.