Canterbury's batsmen again fail to deliver

Another mediocre batting display has cost Canterbury a chance to gain the ascendancy against Plunket Shield rivals Central Districts in Napier.

Instead of making the most of McLean Park's placid conditions, Canterbury relied on Black Caps Dean Brownlie (88) and Andrew Ellis (87) to stay in touch with CD's first innings total of 303-8 declared.

That pair, and to a lesser extent Tom Latham (43) and Todd Astle (35), had the side on track for a first innings lead at 283-6, but the tail folded and the innings ended at 292.

That return doesn't equal a poor day, it's just not a great one.

Ryan McCone did pick up two quick second-innings CD wickets, but Canterbury were unable to grab dumped Black Caps skipper Ross Taylor cheaply again.

That has to be their first priority this morning when Taylor resumes on 22 not out alongside Craig Cachopa (33no).

Taylor is using the match to play himself back into form before the English arrive and if he gets going today CD will be able to set Canterbury a lofty target.

It could have been a far better day for Canterbury but the early signs were ominous.

Skipper Peter Fulton has found run scoring a simple task this year, even on tough decks, but he was removed with just the third ball of the day by Zimbabwe international Kyle Jarvis, leaving the visitors reeling at 1-2.

Fulton and Shanan Stewart (seven) both had their stumps rearranged by jagging balls; Fulton playing an aggressive drive, Stewart leaving soon after.

Latham and Brownlie added 76 for the fourth wicket before the wicketkeeper edged to Taylor at first slip.

Henry Nicholls came and went for 20, chipping Tarun Nethula straight to mid on before Brownlie and Ellis combined.

After Fulton had asked his batsmen to stand up, a couple did, but not for long enough, while a crouch was about the best the rest could muster.

So again the side's faith has been left in the hands of its young bowling lineup, especially McCone and spinners Astle and Tim Johnston.

Early wickets this morning are a must because as the ball gets older, McLean Park could easily turn into a Taylor benefit with more than capable supporting roles likely to come from Cachopa and Mathew Sinclair.

In both other games, bat completely dominated ball.

While 11 wickets fell in Napier, there were only four each in the Otago-Wellington and Northern Districts-Auckland games in Dunedin and Hamilton respectively.

The home sides are well placed in both games; Otago reached stumps last night at 570-5, a first innings lead of 316 runs. Michael Bracewell turned his maiden first-class century into a big one before he was dismissed for 190 while Christchurch's Neil Broom's 134 was his 12th first-class century.

Daniel Flynn said he wanted to have a crack at opening for the Black Caps and has shown coach Mike Hesson what he can do by scoring 166 opening for ND.

His side reached 530-5 at stumps, a lead over Auckland of 290.

Flynn's century was one of three scored by Northern; skipper Brad Wilson reached 139 and James Marshall was dismissed late in the day for 102.

The Press