Knights' resistance puts Central on edge

A defiant fifth-wicket partnership would have given Central Districts a somewhat sleepless night heading into the final day of the Plunket Shield season.

The Northern Knights duo of Corey Anderson and James Marshall put on 155 at Saxton Oval, Nelson, to give them a 134-run lead over the competition leaders, with four second innings wickets remaining today.

The Stags need an outright victory to assure themselves of the shield, with the Otago Volts breathing down their necks.

For most of yesterday, Central looked on track to win comfortably until the ND duo provided stubborn resistance.

Central completed their quest for the maximum of eight first innings points yesterday morning when they passed 400 runs for their first innings within 110 overs. The Stags were eventually dismissed for 418, leaving the SkyCity Knights with a deficit of 152 runs.

They slumped to 109-4 before allrounder Anderson and veteran batsmen Marshall teamed up. Left-hander Anderson made a patient 89 off 151 balls, including 13 fours and a six, before falling late in the day to Black Caps test paceman Doug Bracewell, while Marshall's fluent knock saw him unbeaten at stumps on 94 from 127 deliveries, featuring 13 boundaries.

Together the pair set a fifth-wicket record for the association against CD, surpassing the previous mark of 128 set by current NZ Cricket chief executive David White and Barry Cooper during the 1986-87 season.

At stumps on day three in Wellington, the Firebirds were 308-9 in their second innings, giving them a lead of 185 runs over Otago with Scott Kuggeleijn (68) and Jeetan Patel (53 not out) halting Otago's seemingly inevitable march to victory by putting on 99 for the eighth wicket.

Should Central fail to win outright, a victory to Otago would give them the shield.

Waikato Times