Double century offers platform for dominance

MATT RICHENS
Last updated 05:00 23/12/2013

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A 10-point buffer at the top of cricket's Plunket Shield points table means Canterbury can still dictate terms despite surrendering a big chunk of momentum against Wellington.

On the back of Tom Latham's 241no in the first innings, Canterbury declared their first innings at 471-8 on Saturday and then had their hosts battling at 84-6 at the capital's Karori Park.

But a lower-order fightback and an unbeaten 108 from Wellington skipper James Franklin helped the hosts pass the follow-on mark and creep their way back into the match.

Franklin anchored his side's comeback and shared in partnerships of 83 with Jeetan Patel (46), 24 with Andy McKay (15), 110 with Mark Gillespie (78) and 31 with Brent Arnel (12).

Hamish Bennett continued his fine season and remains the competition's leading wicket taker after picking up 5-76.

Canterbury reached stumps last night at 161-2 and enjoy a lead of 300, with Rob Nicol having batted himself into some form.

The former international has had an atrocious run this season and from his previous five innings had a highest score of two. He faced 154 balls yesterday and will resume this morning unbeaten on 52.

Coach Gary Stead said the pitch was still a good one for batting so his side would not be making it easy for Wellington.

"I think they expect us to declare now," he said.

"We're not going to, we've got a lead in the competition and when we set them a total, it's not going to be easy for them. But we will set up a chase."

Meanwhile, Auckland require a further 326 runs today to win against Northern Districts at Eden Park's Outer Oval after ND declared their second innings at 299-5. Martin Guptill (10no) and Jeet Raval (13no) were to resume this morning at 23-0.

Otago have plenty of work to do if they are to get a result against Central Districts in their rain-affected match in Dunedin. After Jesse Ryder scored 119, Otago reached stumps at 371-8 with a first-innings lead of 116 and just one day to go.

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- The Press

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