Tom Blundell's stars for Wellington at Basin

HAMISH BIDWELL
Last updated 19:53 23/01/2014
Tom Blundell
Fairfax NZ
STARMAN: Tom Blundell.

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It's easy to get jaundiced in this job.

Just not on the days when you talk to someone who's just made a lifetime's wish come true.

Tom Blundell ought to have played Plunket Shield cricket for Wellington already this summer. Only the Karori wicketkeeper-batsman broke a knuckle and then had to wait, once it had healed, for Luke Ronchi to be summoned for international duty.

Blundell's opportunity to add to his two previous first-class appearances finally came today and he grabbed it in some style.

In at 116-5, after being inserted by Auckland on a real green seamer at the Basin Reserve, Blundell should've been a bag of nerves. Instead, the steadying influence of captain James Franklin helped keep his emotions in check and it took Auckland 199 runs to eventually break the partnership.

But not before the 23-year-old Blundell had obliterated his previous highest score of 32 by compiling a maiden first-class century.

"It's a pretty good feeling. I've dreamt about it for a while and it's good to get the maiden one," a happy Blundell said at stumps after making 118 of Wellington's 337-6.

Auckland had made good use of the helpful bowling conditions and the ball was still doing plenty when Blundell strode out in the 39th over.

"It was good batting with Franky, though. He's very calm and got me through it. I just wanted to bat and not worry about runs or anything," Blundell said.

There was a moment of quiet satisfaction when he got passed the 32 he made against Northern Districts last summer and then it was quickly on to thinking of triple figures.

"Probably when I got my 50, I was like '50 more, that's my target'," he said.

Franklin was going similarly well and there was almost a wee race on to see who would bring up the hundred first. The skipper had that honour, scoring the 17th first-class century of his career and his third of the season to lead Wellington to safety.

Blundell eventually went to a sharp catch at point, after slashing at a wide one from Dean Bartlett. But Franklin carried on to be 110 not out at stumps, with Jeetan Patel unbeaten on 17.

The moist pitch has been marked up by day one, with plenty of indentations on a length. Wellington would've bowled themselves and should still find a bit in it when their turns comes tomorrow.

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