Canterbury Wizards in control of Auckland match

MATT RICHENS
Last updated 19:03 07/02/2014

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Canterbury never dominated day one of their Plunket Shield cricket match against Auckland, but history says they're in a handy position.

After losing the toss and being sent in, Canterbury reached 255-7 at stumps.

Auckland walked off the field the happier of the two sides today, but the home side's score on a green and lively wicket could take some beating.

In the four first-class matches played at the newly developed Hagley Oval, Canterbury's first-innings score is comfortably the best. In fact, no team has batted out the first day at Hagley and the first innings so far have been 172, 173 and 176.

The Hagley Oval deck looks likely to continue to offer assistance to the bowlers too so if Canterbury caneke out another 50-odd runs, they'll back themselves to push for an advantage tomorrow.

It could have been better for Canterbury, though, and several batsmen were guilty of getting out having done the hard work and got starts.

Openers Tom Latham (39) and George Worker (33) put on 69 for the first wicket to leave Auckland frustrated at not making the most of the green pitch.

They struggled to find the right length to the openers before Colin Munro trapped Latham in front.

Worker fiddled at a ball from Michael Bates and was caught behind and his wicket started a mini-collapse. The visitors got their tails up and bowled a better line and length.

Dean Brownlie scored 41, but he too was picked up after doing a big chunk of the hard work, strangled down the leg side.

From 114-1, Canterbury drifted to 166-6.

Batting at No 5, Rob Nicol was the side's rock, though never got the scorers in a fizz as he lumbered along carefully.

The sometimes blazing batsman was more like his old watchful self as he batted 192 minutes and faced 150 balls for his 37. But he's still there.

The former test opener took 73 balls to hit the first of his five boundaries and looked happy to watch as many balls whizz past to the keeper as possible.

He featured in a 47-run seventh wicket partnership with captain Andrew Ellis (35) and an eighth-wicket stand which had reached 42 by stumps with Todd Astle (21no).

Ellis continued his fine run with the bat as captain. In his four first-class innings as skipper, Ellis has now scored 326 runs at an average of 81.50. It could have been more too; he was given out today for 35 to an LBW decision which could have gone either way.

Colin de Grandhomme was the pick of the Auckland bowlers, taking 3-54 from 21, and had the ability to extract a bit of extra zip at time.

Bates finished day one with 2-43 and his side will be hoping to start better tomorrow than they did today with a ball already 17-overs old.

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SCOREBOARD

Canterbury v Auckland Hagley Oval, Christchurch 

CANTERBURY

T Latham lbw Munro 39
G Worker c Hopkins b Bates 33
D Brownlie c Hopkins b de Grandhomme 41
H Nicholls c Guptill b de Grandhomme 17
R Nicol not out 37
S Stewart c Hopkins b de Grandhomme 7
B Cachopa c Raval b Martin 12
A Ellis lbw Bates 35
T Astle not out 21
Extras (4lb, 4wd, 5nb) 13 Total (for seven wickets, - overs) 255
Fall of wickets: 69, 114, 132, 141, 151, 166, 213 Bowling: M Bates 25-8-43-2 (2wd, 4nb), M Quinn 21-4-71-0, C de Grandhomme 21-6-54-3 (2wd), C Munro 21-7-45-1 (1nb), B Martin 9-3-38-1.

- Fairfax Media

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