Daniel Vettori, Tim Southee lead Knights fightback
Daniel Vettori helped turn around fortunes for the Northern Knights in Hamilton today before Tim Southee lifted their spirits.
At stumps on day one of the four-day Plunket Shield match at Seddon Park, the Knights had battled back from a poor start to reach 287 against the Central Stags.
In reply, the visitors lost their first two wickets in as many balls to Southee and were 4-2 at stumps.
Vettori, who this week confirmed his unavailability for the national side until at least the new year, top-scored with 78 to give the hosts something to bowl at in Central's reply.
The 34-year-old faced 100 balls, hitting 12 fours as he frustrated a Stags attack that had the upper hand for the majority of the day.
The Knights were put into bat by Stags captain Jamie How under heavy overcast conditions at Seddon Park and immediately struck trouble.
They lost opener Daniel Flynn and Anton Devcich in consecutive balls to left-arm quick Ben Wheeler in the game's second over and Daryl Mitchell narrowly avoided being the hat-trick victim as the hosts slumped to 0-2.
Stags import Peter Trego also took advantage of the handy conditions for swing bowlers by picking up the wickets of Mitchell - courtesy of a sharp snare by wicketkeeper Kruger van Wyk - and test wicketkeeper BJ Watling as the Knights stumbled to lunch at 70-4 after 34 overs.
However, doughty opener Brad Wilson survived the early carnage to provide the innings with some backbone before becoming Trego's third victim for 71, featuring 12 fours from 172 balls.
Allrounder Corey Anderson, who returned from New Zealand's tour of Sri Lanka early due to a rib injury, looked set to keep his place in the Black Caps side for the first test against the West Indies starting in Dunedin on Tuesday by producing a typically aggressive knock.
He struck six fours and a six in his 78-ball 36 before holing out on the mid-wicket boundary off left-arm spinner Ajaz Patel just four balls after Wilson departed to leave the Knights again battling at 137-6.
Vettori however kept the Knights afloat with a typically inventive knock and got handy support from tailenders Ish Sodhi (18) and Trent Boult (23 not out) as the hosts added 104 for the last two wickets.
Seamer Doug Bracewell's chances of making the Black Caps side wouldn't have been helped by figures of 1-73 off 20 overs, while Trego led the attack with 4-63 off 22.
Southee however indicated he was ready to return to the test arena by dismissing How and Carl Cachopa for golden ducks.
BS Wilson lbw b PD Trego 71
DR Flynn c AY Patel b BM Wheeler 0
AP Devcich c JM How b BM Wheeler 0
DJ Mitchell c CFK van Wyk b PD Trego 12
BJ Watling c CFK van Wyk b PD Trego 2
CJ Anderson c AF Milne b AY Patel 36
DL Vettori b AF Milne 78
SC Kuggeleijn c BM Wheeler b AY Patel 14
TG Southee c CFK van Wyk b DAJ Bracewell 8
IS Sodhi c CFK van Wyk b PD Trego 18
TA Boult not out 23
Extras (lb 14, wd 5, nb 6) 25
Total (for 10 wickets, 89.0 overs) 287
Fall: 1-0 (DR Flynn, 1.2), 2-0 (AP Devcich, 1.3), 3-44 (DJ Mitchell, 21.6), 4-55 (BJ Watling, 25.2), 5-137 (BS Wilson, 52.6), 6-137 (CJ Anderson, 53.4), 7-170 (SC Kuggeleijn, 65.3), 8-183 (TG Southee, 66.6), 9-248 (IS Sodhi, 81.3), 10-287 (DL Vettori, 88.6)
Bowling: DAJ Bracewell 20-5-73-1 (6nb), BM Wheeler 18-7-40-2 (3w, PD Trego 22-6-63-4, AF Milne 19-2-65-1 (2w, AY Patel 10-3-32-2
JM How c BS Wilson b TG Southee 0
BS Smith not out 1
Carl Cachopa c BJ Watling b TG Southee 0
BM Wheeler not out 3
Extras (lb 0, nb 0) 0
Total (for 2 wickets, 6.0 overs) 4
Fall: 1-0 (JM How, 0.1), 2-0 (Carl Cachopa, 0.2)
Bowling: TG Southee 3-2-4-2, TA Boult 3-3-0-0