Jesse Ryder's remarkable cricketing comeback moved up a gear today as he hit another blistering century to guide Wellington to a five-wicket victory over Central Districts in their Plunket Shield match in Napier.
Ryder cracked his second century of the match, 174 off 136 balls, as Wellington chased down their target of 342 with 15 overs to spare on the final day at Nelson Park.
Having strode to the crease with Wellington teetering at 34-2, the powerful left-hander seized control in a 196-minute domination. He hit 23 fours and two sixes; scoring his first 50 off 39 balls and his 12th first-class century off 85 deliveries.
When Ryder departed, caught by Doug Bracewell off the bowling of Carl Cachopa, Wellington were just 63 short of their target.
All-rounder Luke Woodcock (69 not out) and gloveman Luke Ronchi (36 not out) saw the chase home to open Wellington's account for the 2012-13 season.
Ryder also led the Wellington first innings, scoring 117 not out in their total of 340.
Bu it won't mean an automatic recall to the New Zealand team, for whom he's played 18 tests, 39 ODIs and 20 T20 matches, the last of those in February.
Black Caps coach Mike Hesson, speaking from Sri Lanka today, said he was thrilled at Ryder's form but didn't want to apply any public pressure to make himself available.
Ryder, 28, remains unavailable for national selection until further notice as he works back to full fitness after taking a self-imposed break from cricket during the winter, and swearing off alcohol.
Earlier, New Zealand all-rounder Doug Bracewell hit 85 off 94 balls as CD declared their second innings at 298-7. That left Wellington 82 overs to score the required 342.
With the World Cup just around the corner, how do you think the Black Caps will go?