Ross Taylor's comeback hit a speed bump yesterday, the former Black Caps skipper failing to fire for Central Districts on day one of their Plunket Shield clash against Auckland.
Taylor made 21 in Central's first innings of 233 before being trapped in front by Auckland all-rounder Colin de Grandhomme.
The former New Zealand captain was charged with leading a fightback after Central lost their first three wickets for just 41 runs.
But he and ex-international battler Matt Sinclair (16) did little of note at the crease - both dismissed by the time the Stags had reached 72.
Middle order slugger Kieran Noema-Barnett did his best to hold his side's middle order together, notching a quickfire 67 from just 66 balls.
The innings featured 11 fours and a six and saw him combine with former test keeper Kruger van Wyk to add 64 for the sixth wicket.
Yet the resistance was shortlived.
Top-notch seam bowling by Auckland veterans Chris Martin and Michael Bates saw Central staggering at 176 for 9.
Tailenders Tarun Nethula (25 not out) and Kyle Jarvis added a plucky 57 for the last wicket, with No 11 Jarvis in rare form with the bat.
He slashed eight boundaries before being caught by Craig Cachopa for 45.
Bates was the pick of the Auckland bowlers.
He snared 4 for 44 off his 9.3 overs,while Black Caps old-timer Chris Martin claimed 3 for 67 off his 16.
Young seamer Matt Quinn struggled for the hosts, getting blasted for 76 runs off his 12 overs, and picking up just one wicket.
Auckland finished at 142 for 3 in reply at stumps, with Craig Cachopa (46) and Gareth Hopkins (10) at the crease.
Promising right-arm seamer Bevan Small was the most threatening of the Central Districts bowlers toward the end of the first day, taking 2 for 21 in a tidy seven overs.
Former internationals Tim McIntosh and Reece Young both fell to Small, Taylor taking a sharp catch at first slip to dismiss the former Black Caps opener. Fairfax NZ
CENTRAL: First innings
JM How c DN Hakaraia b CS Martin 7
JA Raval b CS Martin 17
Carl Cachopa b MR Quinn 5
LRPL Taylor lbw b C de Grandhomme 21
MS Sinclair b MD Bates 16
K Noema-Barnett c GJ Hopkins b Bates 67
CFK van Wyk c GJ Hopkins b CS Martin 16
D Bracewell c G Hopkins b C de Grandhomme 9
TS Nethula not out 25
BJ Small lbw b MD Bates 0
KM Jarvis c Craig Cachopa b MD Bates 45
Extras (lb 1, nb 4) 5
Total (for 10 wickets, 57.3 overs) 233
Fall: 1-10 (JM How, 4.1), 2-19 (Carl Cachopa, 7.5), 3-41 (JA Raval, 12.2), 4-68 (LRPL Taylor, 19.1), 5-72 (MS Sinclair, 20.2), 6-136 (CFK van Wyk, 34.1), 7-149 (DAJ Bracewell, 37.6), 8-176 (K Noema-Barnett, 44.1), 9-176 (BJ Small, 44.2), 10-233 (KM Jarvis, 57.3).
Bowling: CS Martin 16-0-67-3 (2nb), MR Quinn 12-2-76-1, C de Grandhomme 16-3-34-2, MD Bates 9.3-1-44-4 (1nb), BP Martin 4-0-11-0 (1nb).
AUCKLAND: First innings
M Guptill-Bunce run out (DAJ Bracewell) 47
TG McIntosh c LRPL Taylor b BJ Small 25
RA Young lbw b BJ Small 8
Craig Cachopa not out 46
GJ Hopkins not out 10
Extras (b 1, lb 2, nb 3) 6
Total (for 3 wickets, 37 overs) 142 Fall: 1-49 (TG McIntosh, 11.1), 2-62 (RA Young, 15.6), 3-111 (M Guptill-Bunce, 26.5).
Bowling: KM Jarvis 12-2-40-0, DAJ Bracewell 9-2-33-0 (2nb), BJ Small 7-1-21-2, K Noema-Barnett 3-0-17-0 (1nb), TS Nethula 4-0-26-0, Carl Cachopa 2-0-2-0.
- Manawatu Standard