Woakes aims to strike blows for Firebirds

SAM WORTHINGTON
Last updated 05:00 12/12/2012
Firebirds
CRAIG SIMCOX/FAIRFAX NZ

GOING, GOING, GONE: Central Districts close-in fieldsman Will Young performs a juggling act before finally completing the catch to dismiss Wellington centurymaker Michael Papps (117) in a Plunket Shield match at Karori Park yesterday. Watching the action unfold is wicketkeeper Kruger van Wyk.

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He's adjusted to the Wellington wind, now Firebirds import Chris Woakes is hoping a bit of luck will land him a big-wicket haul in a push for a Plunket Shield victory over Central Districts.

The competition-leading Stags will resume at 98-1 in their second innings on day three today, still 45 runs in arrears after Wellington were bowled out for 403 at Karori Park yesterday.

Jesse Ryder continued his run glut with 162, including 20 fours and four sixes.

He was well supported by Michael Papps, who scored 117 at a more sedate rate, as the pair shared a 256-run partnership for the third wicket.

English all-rounder Woakes (41) and Jeetan Patel (40 not out) chimed in with some valuable runs down the order to give Wellington a cushion on a pitch that is flattening out.

"The wicket definitely looks like it's getting better," said Woakes, who took 2-51 with his outswingers in the first innings and bowled eight overs for just 10 runs yesterday afternoon.

"But you never know, hopefully [today] it deteriorates and we can get a few wickets and hopefully we're not chasing that many in the second innings."

Woakes is in Wellington as part of his bid to try to break back into the England team ahead of its tour to New Zealand next year.

After "a tough starting point" getting overs under his belt at Eden Park against Auckland, he feels things are coming together in this match.

"Obviously I'm only here for three four-dayers so I'm trying to stamp my authority as soon as possible," Woakes said.

"I've had a few starts with the bat and I'd really like to have gone on and got bigger scores, particularly [yesterday] once I got myself in and past the new ball.

"But from a bowling point of view I feel like I'm hitting my straps pretty well and just need a bit of luck, maybe, to get the big- wicket haul.

"I feel like I'm getting to where I want to be and enjoying it as well - even the wind - which is the main thing."

CD, who were bowled out for a below-par 260 in their first innings, cruised to 89 without loss yesterday before Wellington opening bowler Mark Gillespie (1-36) had Jamie How caught at gully for 51.

In-form left-hander Jeet Raval is on 35 not out off 113 balls as he tries to pilot the Stags into a position where they can start applying pressure back on the hosts, who desperately need maximum points.

Night watchman Roald Badenhorst is with him at the crease on eight not out.

"The other lads have bowled well and it's a big morning session," Woakes said.

"Hopefully we can get some wickets and put them under the pump. The wicket did a little bit in the first innings and we capitalised on that well.

"'Jesse and Pappsy played really well in the first innings, to get us in a good position and it's up to us now. They're still a few runs behind so it's up to us now to take some wickets in the morning," he said.

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- The Dominion Post

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