Defending champions Northern Districts have put on a batting masterclass today in their Plunket Shield match against Auckland in Hamilton.
With the teams greeted by a green pitch on day one at Seddon Park, today it had browned off nicely and was a dream to bat on.
Resuming on 152-1, in reply to the visitors’ 240, the Northern Knights, who are sitting at the bottom of the table, took full advantage of conditions and the fact that the Aces were down two seamers after Michael Bates and Dean Bartlett had to leave the field yesterday because of injury.
They ended the day 530-5 with a massive lead of 290 after Daniel Flynn, Brad Wilson and James Marshall all posted centuries.
Flynn and Wilson began the day on 78 and 63 respectively and went on to cart the visitors’ attack around the ground.
The pair put on 301 for the second wicket, which was ND’s second highest partnership in first class cricket, behind only the 322 for the sixth by Mark Orchard and Joseph Yovich against Central Districts in Napier in 2005-06.
Today’s stand was also the fourth-highest for the second wicket in NZ first class matches.
Flynn, who after a poor tour of South Africa with the Black Caps has now set his sights on opening for the national team instead of batting in the middle order, made 166 (from 274 balls, including 25 fours and two sixes).
It was his 13th first class century and 12th for ND
He had his signature cover drive working superbly against an attack which saw Chris Martin and Bruce Martin have to do a mountainous load of bowling – as they got through 21 and 43 overs a piece for the day.
Wilson, after a dreadful run in the first half of the competition, got back in the runs with 139 (from 252 balls, including 20 fours) – his seventh first class ton, as he jumped into equal fourth on ND’s all-time list – which Flynn tops.
The duo took the hosts to lunch at 262-1, before the new ball did the trick for Auckland in the second session, with Chris Martin getting one to nip back through Wilson’s defences.
Just a handful of overs later, Flynn was undone by a ball from Bruce Martin which spun back through the gate.
James Marshall and Daryl Mitchell carried on the good work to get to tea at 382-3.
Marshall – ND’s all-time leading first class run scorer – surpassed 6000 runs and played a fine, brisk innings of 102 (from 120 balls, including 15 fours) to post his 12th first class hundred and 10th for the province.
The duo shared in a 156-run partnership before Marshall chipped one to square leg off Bruce Martin, then late in the day Mitchell was out to Chris Martin for 68 to a ball which seemed to be travelling down leg side.
Adam Wheater and Jono Boult will resume the assault in the morning.