Marlborough cricketer Ben Wheeler was a standout performer as his Central Stags went to the top of the Plunket Shield points table with an eight-wicket victory over the Northern Knights in Gisborne on Tuesday.
After a solid performance in Central's loss to Wellington in their opening four-day fixture, left-arm paceman Wheeler was rested with a hamstring complaint for the Stags' victory over Auckland in Napier last week.
However, he returned to the side for the match against Northern at Harry Barker Reserve, and turned in an impressive display, finishing with tidy figures of 2-48 in Northern's first innings of 183.
After Central posted 341 in reply, he took 4-38 from 20 overs, including six maidens, as the Knights were knocked over for 252 in their second innings.
The 21-year-old Marlburian and young Black Caps speedster Adam Milne both ended the match with six wickets.
Wheeler finished with 6-86 from 36 overs, including nine maidens.
After three matches, Central head the standings on 43 points, from Otago (29) and Auckland (22).
The Stags play their first match in the Twenty20 Cup competition against Northern in Hamilton tomorrow night.
They then resume their Plunket Shield campaign with an away match against Otago, starting in Napier on Monday.