Martin Guptill warmed up for his Boxing Day return to the Black Caps with a century, but the opener was overshadowed by Tom Latham's mammoth unbeaten double ton in today's Plunket Shield action.
Canterbury's Latham started the day on 137 and, after easing past his highest first-class score, cruised through to 241 not out from 423 balls at Karori Park in Wellington.
His impressive 10-hour innings, which featured 21 fours and two sixes, was a timely reminder to the New Zealand selectors after he was notably left out of the national one-day squad this week, despite averaging 49.50 on the recent tour to Sri Lanka.
Latham's knock helped Canterbury further assert their extremely dominant position in the top-of-the-table four-day clash.
After declaring at 471-8, with former Black Caps left-armer Andy McKay snaffling 4-97, the visitors had Wellington in serious trouble by the close of play at 167-7.
All-rounder James Franklin (53 not out) is the home side's only hope of avoiding the follow-on. Fast bowler Hamish Bennett was Canterbury's chief destroyer with 3-53, and Logan van Beek had 2-34.
Ironically, Guptill is set to take Latham's place in an explosive top of the order combination with Jesse Ryder in the first ODI against the West Indies at Eden Park this week.
Guptill led Auckland's chase of Northern Districts' 461-4 dec, the imposing total set up by centuries to Daniel Flynn (188) and Daryl Mitchell (103 not out).
Guptill's unbeaten 121 from 187 balls, which included 17 boundaries, was a patient, composed innings and it held together Auckland's batting line-up at Eden Park's outer oval.
Resuming on 243-4 today, Auckland captain Gareth Hopkins (9 not out) will need to dig in with Guptill to mount a challenge.
Meanwhile, at the University Oval in Dunedin, Ryder surprised with the ball by taking 3-32 from 11 overs in an evenly poised contest between Otago and Central Districts. Wicketkeeper Kruger van Wyk's 91 from 140 balls carried Central through to 255, with Otago's 19-year-old Jacob Duffy taking 3-50 from 19 overs and Sam Wells bagging 2-46.
In reply the hosts are 30-2.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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