Canterbury suffer wobbles but keep control
There was a sizeable speed wobble but Canterbury regrouped to remain on top after the second day of their Plunket Shield match with Wellington in Rangiora.
After a crazy first day that saw 16 wickets fall on a fairly flat deck, today's proceedings were comparatively mundane.
The upshot is Canterbury remain well placed midway through the match, though it's certainly not an unbeatable position and at one point today they were headed that way.
After taking a 93-run lead into the second innings, having cleaned up the tail and bowled Wellington out for 130 in today's morning session, Canterbury resume tomorrow on 192-6, an overall lead of 285 runs.
On the evidence of this match they've probably already got enough runs already, but in the back of their mind they'll know the pitch is still reasonably good for batting and Wellington's lineup has plenty of runs in it.
Skipper Andrew Ellis, who is on 32, will be crucial to the hosts' hopes of pushing the lead past 350.
At 109-1 nearing tea, with a lead of 202, Canterbury were heading toward that unbeatable position.
Tom Latham and Dean Brownlie looked class acts in a match that has been low of quality with the bat and they piled on 109 runs for the second wicket with comparative ease.
Latham continued his excellent form from yesterday, when he scored 92, but on 65 he was run out after a mixup with Brownlie and a direct hit from Mark Gillespie at short fine leg.
And that triggered another mini-collapse, which seems to be a theme in this match.
Four Canterbury wickets fell for 11 runs as Wellington's left-arm quick Andy McKay ran through the middle order, following on from his four-wicket haul in the first innings.
But Brownlie (83) and Ellis, as he did in the first innings with Latham, combined to steady the ship and compile 67 runs for the sixth wicket.
Just as Brownlie appeared to have a ton in his sights, his strength let him down and he cut a short, wide ball from Brent Arnel straight to point.
Earlier, Wellington resumed their first innings in the perilous position of 27-6 but added 103 runs for the last four wickets at about a run-a-minute, thanks largely to a useful 30 from Luke Woodcock and an excellent unbeaten 44 from Michael Papps, who had injured a finger taking a catch on the first day and did not come into bat till the fall of the seventh wicket.
Hamish Bennett finished with innings-best figures of 4-45 after his fiery spell late on the first day, while Logan van Beek, Ellis and Todd Astle each claimed two wickets.
For the second successive day, play in the other two matches - between Auckland and Central Districts at Eden Park and Northern Districts and Otago in Whangarei - was abandoned without a ball being bowled.