Mark Gillespie's career-best figures just reward

HAMISH BIDWELL
Last updated 05:00 01/02/2014
Mark Gillespie
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STEPPING UP: Mark Gillespie.

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The hard work's done, now it's about finishing.

Wellington lead Central Districts by 154 runs, with seven second innings wickets in hand, going into the third day of their Plunket Shield clash at Napier.

Firebirds fast bowler Mark Gillespie, who took career-best figures of six for 38 as CD were bowled out for 161 in reply to Wellington's first innings of 172, isn't sure how much cricket they'll get at McLean Park. Rain brought a premature end to play yesterday, with Wellington 143 for three in their second innings, and is forecast again today.

What he's certain of is that the game won't finish in a draw, whether that be on day three or four.

Gillespie felt he produced his most consistent bowling of the season yesterday, to give Wellington a small first innings advantage after CD had resumed at 103 for five.

''I bowled three spells in that innings and was pretty much on the money the whole time and didn't let up at all,'' Gillespie said of his 18.2 overs.

''It was a good all round effort from our bowling attack. I was the one that ended up with the rewards, but our bowling group's all about getting the 10 wickets and getting off the park and, while it's nice to get a few yourself, as long as we're getting off the park we're pleased.''

He hopes the batsmen will give the bowlers a total of around 250 to bowl at in the last innings. If they do, then Josh Brodie's match double of 51 and 49 will have played a significant part.

The re-called opening batsman was filthy at himself for not going on and posting bigger scores but, given the struggles he's had this summer, 100 runs could be a big contribution in a low-scoring match.

''The pitch is quite variable [in bounce] and there's good footies [foot marks] and good scarring and it's taking a lot of turn, so it's one of those pitches where you never feel 'in' and always feel like one [delivery] might have your number,'' Brodie said.

In each innings his goal had been to try and survive the first 20 balls and then expand his game from there. Wellington were aided by a side strain to CD left-armer Ben Wheeler, which means he won't bowl again in the match.

But yesterday belonged to Gillespie.

''He was awesome and thoroughly deserves everything he gets. He puts his heart into it and was fantastic, so more of the same fourth innings,'' said Brodie.

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