After three matches on tarmac, Wellington coach Jamie Siddons has called for more variety in the Plunket Shield pitches as they return to Karori Park to try to kickstart their season.
The Firebirds remain fifth on the ladder after the final day of their third-round match against Auckland was washed out yesterday.
A draw was the best they could hope for anyway after being carted for 658-9 by Auckland's batsmen, and left them 39 points off leaders Central Districts, who visit Wellington in the next round, starting on December 10.
Siddons rued inexperience and inconsistency among his pace attack at Eden Park No 2, but he hoped New Zealand pitches would deteriorate, not improve as the games wore on like they did in Napier and Rangiora.
"You need to be batting last. Chasing 350-380 is not a tough chase on the last day," Siddons said. "We're hoping to get a few wickets with a bit more life in them, given we've got a pretty good pace attack, but they need a little bit of assistance."
Without the injured Andy McKay, Wellington's pacemen struggled as Colin Munro (269 not out) and former Firebird Craig Cachopa (166) plundered. Dane Hutchinson and Scott Kuggeleijn took two expensive wickets apiece, while English import Chris Woakes needed the run.
"We were probably 100 runs short of what we should have got; 380 was an OK score but we didn't bowl very good areas and weren't consistent enough."
Siddons said spinner Mark Houghton was omitted after he bowled in the nets on Sunday and it was more "Twenty20 stuff".
The pitch also didn't look like it would offer turn. "It wasn't the fit we were looking for. In hindsight, possibly . . ."
The Firebirds' next match is a T20 against CD in Napier next Friday.
What do you make of the recent crackdown on chucking in cricket?