Tim Southee made a fine fist of his comeback from an injured thumb in Whangarei today.
The Black Caps swing bowler took 4-97 off 24 overs at Cobham Oval against the Wellington Firebirds as the visitors ended day one of their Plunket Shield encounter at 412 for nine."Tim was definitely the pick of our bowlers," Knights coach Grant Bradburn said tonight.
"He bowled with real intent and troubled all their batsman. He did admit that he'll be sore tomorrow though after that many overs."
Southee was making his first start in nearly two months after surgery on torn ligaments in his left thumb as he aims to get back into the national side.
He helped knock the top off the Wellington batting, capturing the early wickets of Josh Brodie and Stephen Murdoch while Brent Arnel picked up Michael Papps to have the visitors floundering at 54-3. Southee also forced Luke Woodcock from the field when he struck the batsman on the elbow with a rising delivery.
However, Michael Pollard (56) steadied the ship before Harry Boam and Scott Kuggleijn produced a partnership that halted the headway the Knights had made.
Boam made his maiden first-class century, getting to 102 off 172 balls while striking 13 fours and two sixes.
Kuggeleijn, son of former ND batsman and coach Chris, made 74 off 101 balls, including nine fours and two sixes as they added 137 for the sixth wicket.
Woodcock returned in the afternoon to make 76 and Bradburn admitted the SkyCity Knights bowling attack lacked discipline at times against Wellington's aggressive approach.
"It's a good wicket and they batted well too. We didn't have a lot of luck go our way either - there was probably half a dozen chances skied in the air that landed between fielders."
Southee wasn't the only bowler to make an early claim for a test spot against England next month. Doug Bracewell took 7-35 for Central Districts against Canterbury in Rangiora while Otago left-armer Neil Wagner took 5-54 against Auckland in Duendin .
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