McLean Park played tricks on the batsmen on day one of the Plunket Shield match between the Northern Knights and Central Stags.
Fifteen wickets fell in Napier yesterday on a wicket that is regarded as a batsman's paradise. The visitors were rolled for 195 before the hosts struggled to 109-5 in reply at stumps in the scheduled four-day encounter.
Knights coach James Pamment said the wicket posed problems all day for the batsmen.
"It was very green, very seam-bowler friendly conditions this morning and we toiled manfully to get to about 80 for one," he said last night.
"They did get good line and length before lunchtime - it was very demanding. None of our batsmen made critical errors, it was just they were victims of the surface assisting the bowlers."
None of the Knights batsmen managed to register a half-century as the visitors were dismissed in just 60.3 overs, with skipper and opener Daniel Flynn top-scoring with 41 after the Knights were asked to bat first for the fifth time in six first-class matches this season.
Pamment said the small score certainly wasn't due to any hangovers from his team's HRV Twenty20 title win in Hamilton last Saturday.
"Not at all - they've prepared very well," Pamment said of his troops.
"There was no ill-discipline at all. There were two or three guys who genuinely played forward defensive shots and just got outside edges - Daniel Flynn and Daryl Mitchell among them.
"They worked very hard on a demanding surface and hopefully in the second innings when it is a little flatter they can play with the equal amount of discipline and cash in a bit."
With the ball still nipping around into the evening session, the Stags were reduced to 71-5 before Greg Hay (29 not out) and Kruger van Wyk (17 not out) steadied the ship somewhat.
"We bowled good areas and asked a couple of questions," Pamment said.
"They scored a lot of their runs behind the wicket too.
"The two players batting at the moment are very similar players; they both score their runs in very similar areas. We'll have to be disciplined and make them play down the ground and not give them anything free short."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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