Batsmen put Wizards ahead on day one

MATT RICHENS
Last updated 19:17 20/02/2013
Shanan Stewart
Photosport
NEW CALLING: Better known for his efforts with the bat, Shanan Stewart became an unlikely hero for Canterbury with the ball in their Plunket Shield match against Auckland.

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Two impressive performances by Canterbury batsmen have the Wizards ahead in their race with Auckland to avoid the Plunket Shield wooden spoon.

Shanan Stewart, a regular in Canterbury's top order and a very part-time bowler, today took 5-7 with his gentle medium pacers before lunch to wreck Auckland's first innings, while Peter Fulton again cashed in at the batting crease.

Stewart's heroics helped Canterbury roll Auckland for 173 and Fulton's seventh half century of the season - to go with three centuries - saw the home side through to 128-1 at stumps.

Stewart removed opener Michael Barry (27) with the first ball of his second over before completing a rare triple wicket maiden by dismissing Auckland's two best batsmen, Craig Cachopa and Gareth Hopkins

The 30-year-old then strangled out Auckland's top scorer Anaru Kitchen (41), caught by wicketkeeper Tom Latham down the legside, before completing his five wicket bag by trapping Michael Guptill-Bunce on the verge of lunch.

Auckland's tail order gave their side a much needed boost through to 173, but on a flat Hagley Oval, that was always a substandard total.

Fulton, who will resume tomorrow on 80 not out, put on 106 with George Worker (35) for the opening partnership before Michael Bates had Worker lbw.

Fulton, the competition's highest run scorer despite missing a game, hit 12 boundaries in his 173-minute, 143-ball stay.

He and Henry Nicholls (5 not out) will resume tomorrow morning, just 45 behind Auckland's first innings score.

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