In-form Latham pushes his Black Caps claims

MATT RICHENS
Last updated 05:00 24/01/2014
Tom Latham
Fairfax NZ
MAKING A PUSH: Tom Latham has been in impressive form for the the Wizards.

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Tom Latham continued his push for a test call-up with another fine innings in Plunket Shield cricket action.

The Canterbury opener scored 93 yesterday as four-day action resumed and despite missing one of the side's matches this campaign, has already passed 500 runs for the season.

Yesterday's 93 was his third half century of the season to go with his 241no scored against Wellington last month.

Latham's innings helped Canterbury reach 280 after being sent in by Otago at Dunedin's University Oval and the removal of both Otago openers late in the day left honours even.

Latham's now earmarked as a potential long-form opener, but his path to test debut is blocked by team-mate Peter Fulton and Otago's Hamish Rutherford, the incumbents.

Both failed yesterday with Fulton scoring 17 and Rutherford four.

Both Fulton and Rutherford are likely to remain with the Black Caps for the upcoming two-test series against India, but Latham continues to push them, now averages 85.50 in this season's Plunket Shield.

There is plenty of competition for spots, however, with the three men to sit higher than him on the Plunket Shield run list - Michael Papps, Martin Guptill and Jesse Ryder - all options for the selectors to consider too.

Coach Gary Stead applauded Latham's latest knock in which he kept a rein on his shot-making while also keeping the score ticking over.

He hit 17-fours in his 136-ball, 191-minute stay.

Latham added 71 with Fulton yesterday before a mini-collapse had Canterbury drop from 166-3 to 167-6.

Brad Cachopa (37) and Todd Astle (52) then added 83 for the seventh wicket to help their side reach a batting bonus-point then go on to reach 280.

Otago's Mark Craig was able to extract spin from the University Oval wicket - a good sign for Canterbury leggie Astle - and in windy condition, troubled the Canterbury batsmen with drift too.

He took 5-56, though Stead admitted there were a few questionable shot choices from his charges too.

Both Canterbury opening bowlers dismissed an Otago opening batsmen each and Otago were to resume this morning at 47-2 with Michael Bracewell (10) and nightwatchman Neil Wagner (0) at the crease.

In other matches, Wellington are well on top against Auckland while Central Districts are struggling against Northern Districts after 15 wickets fell in Napier.

ND were inserted and rolled for 195 before CD stumbled to stumps at 109-5.

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Wellington too were put in and at 116-5 looked to be in trouble against Auckland in the capital until James Franklin (110no) and Tom Blundell (118) added 199 for the sixth wicket to help their side reach 337-6 at stumps.

- Fairfax Media

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