Canterbury not out of contention yet

GEOFF LONGLEY
Last updated 05:00 09/02/2013

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While Northern Districts look likely to bag outright points against Canterbury at Hagley Oval today, hold all tickets.

ND might need only 47 runs but, given 14 wickets fell yesterday to follow 20 on the opening day, victory either way is still possible.

Northern's batsmen have batted better in their second innings after being set 214 to win with BJ Watling, Joey Yovich and Brad Wilson all posting scores in the 40s to put the visitors right on target.

Black Cap Watling is unbeaten on 48 from 79 balls and he is paired with the experienced James Marshall with whom 43 have been added unbroken for the fifth wicket after Yovich and Wilson added 77 for the third.

Canterbury's pace attack is far from their strongest with numerous injury issues and has not threatened as it did on the first day when the Wizards claimed a 64-run first innings lead. The fresh new wicket at Hagley was still offering assistance for the seamers yesterday and the experienced Brent Arnel and Graeme Aldridge, plus Anurag Verma and Daryl Mitchell, exploited it ably. Keeper Watling had a hand in five caught behind dismissals.

The Canterbury batsmen struggled for crease occupation with only Tom Latham and Henry Nicholls in the middle order providing much resistance.

Latham compiled 42 from 46 balls with six fours while Nicholls faced most balls, 52. Arnel finished with eight wickets after his first day five-wicket bag.

The wicket is no minefield but questions still need to be addressed about the merits of staging a four-day match on a brand new surface.

Meanwhile, Auckland and Wellington are engaged in a runfest at the Basin Reserve with Wellington's Luke Ronchi making an unbeaten century.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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