Tom Latham makes most of Franklin's charity

HAMISH BIDWELL
Last updated 05:00 21/12/2013
Tom Latham
ROSS GIBLIN/Fairfax NZ
LETTING IT GO: Tom Latham lets a ball go outside off-stump during his innings of 137 not out of day one of Canterbury's Plunket Shield match against Wellington.

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One way or another, it was an eventful day for James Franklin at Karori Park.

The Wellington captain inserted Plunket Shield leaders Canterbury and then could've dismissed Tom Latham twice.

Instead, opener Latham went to stumps unbeaten on 137 and with his side 292 for five, on a day for the purists.

Deciding to bowl was an interesting call, although it paid early dividends. Former Black Caps Rob Nicol and Dean Brownlie barely bothered the scorers and the loss of the in-form Latham would've more than justified the bowling option.

Unfortunately Franklin couldn't hold a Mark Gillespie-generated nick at third slip, when Latham was on two.

More frustration followed, when Franklin bowled Latham on 62, with the first ball after lunch.

Sadly he'd overstepped, leaving Latham to replace the bails and carry on.

Wellington stuck at it and Andy McKay chipped out Shanan Stewart and Brad Cachopa just before the close, which was fair reward for all the bowlers' toil.

"That second-last over sort of saved our day a bit. Obviously I shelled him [Latham] and bowled him off a no-ball which doesn't help," Franklin said.

Franklin's not noted as a guy who pushes the front line too often, so it was a surprise to see him no-balled in this instance.

When it comes to captaincy these days, everyone's an expert.

Whether it's enforcing follow-ons or not, or bowling or batting first, no-one's shy of being wise after the event.

This Karori Park pitch gave every indication that it would be lifeless after the first session or so, making it impossible to quibble with Franklin in this instance.

"The best time to bowl on these wickets [at Karori] is first up because they just flatten out and become really good decks to bat on, on days two and three," he said.

"We bowled reasonably well in the first hour of the day and obviously if I'd taken the catch things could've ended up a whole lot different.

"But we didn't bowl well the hour before lunch and that hurt us badly. [Henry] Nicholls [70] came out and played very positively and we got the day back with our last two hours of bowling."

Once Nicholls went, it became harder to see what Canterbury were trying to achieve.

Wellington did go defensive, but Latham and Stewart basically ended up having a net and made little effort to keep the game moving.

On another day, Gillespie might've had a good lbw shout against Latham upheld and it wasn't till McKay trapped Stewart in front that the Firebirds broke through.

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Cachopa faced a couple of balls before Michael Pollard magically appeared at leg slip, where the batsman tucked the next delivery right down his throat.

Canterbury went to stumps with Latham refusing singles so he didn't put captain Andrew Ellis on strike.

- The Dominion Post

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