Knights fare worse on fizzing Hagley Oval

IAN ANDERSON
Last updated 05:00 08/02/2013

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The first-class debut of the new Hagley Oval wasn't a happy occasion for the batsmen yesterday.

In the first Plunket Shield match to be played at the rebuilt Christchurch venue in nine years, 20 wickets fell as the Northern Knights were rolled for 108 at stumps after dismissing the Canterbury Wizards for 172.

A SkyCity Knights batting lineup that has struggled for form this season but was bolstered by Black Caps Kane Williamson and BJ Watling was expected to provide some steel in the round eight encounter.

Instead, the defending champions again showed a lack of application which has put a black mark on their campaign.

Knights coach Grant Bradburn said his side couldn't blame all their woes on the new pitch, which seamed around all day and produced "a lot of edges and a lot of tentative footwork".

"I think it's a fair assumption that on wickets that have been testing we haven't been able to bat for long enough. We have been exposed on some lively wickets."

Batting at No 3, Williamson made six off 22 balls while Watling fared better than most in reaching 25 in an innings that saw James Marshall top-score with 36.

Earlier, Brent Arnel took 5-55 off 18 overs to continue his strong form this season.

The 34-year-old last played a test for the Black Caps against South Africa in Hamilton in March last year. With his test bowling record of nine wickets at an average of 62.88, he's unlikely to get a recall against England.

Arnel has 35 first-class wickets this domestic season at an average of 24.66, just one short of the most prolific wicket-taker, Otago Volts seamer Ian Butler. Graeme Aldridge, in his 100th first-class match for Northern Districts, took 3-53.

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