Coin toss proving unlucky for Knights
Too early in the season to roll out the "useless tossers" joke?
Probably, but the Northern Knights will be avidly hoping their luck with the coin changes for the remainder of the Plunket Shield season.
In their first three matches, Knights skipper Brad Wilson has lost the toss, found his side put into bat on a fresh new-season wicket, and floundered.
That was the case again in Gisborne at the weekend as the SkyCity Knights find themselves a long way behind the Central Stags midway through their four-day first-class encounter.
Knights coach Grant Bradburn predicted batting was going to be tough on the first day and close to ideal in the latter stages of day two, and while Wilson's coin work has been lacking, Bradburn's crystal-ball gazing was spot on. The hosts were rolled for 183 on day one and Central had reached 341-9 in reply by stumps last night.
"We would have loved to have been batting on day two instead of toiling away with the ball," Bradburn said.
"All three venues we've played at so far the wickets have changed quite dramatically over the first two days."
Bradburn wasn't making excuses for another poor batting effort after being inserted, as only wicketkeeper/batsman Adam Wheater (53) made any score of note.
"We got guys in but just couldn't quite be disciplined for long enough to occupy the crease. We showed signs of blunting the attack and we ended up 100 shy of where we wanted to be.
"We toiled away well with the ball today but the wicket flattened out a lot and we weren't quite as consistent with our lengths as we should have been."
Seamer James Baker was the pick of the Northern bowlers with 4-59 off 25 overs but the Central tail proved troublesome after they were reduced to 165-5.
Wicketkeeper Ben Smith was unbeaten on 64 after 230 minutes at the crease and he and Adam Milne added an unbroken 55 for the last wicket.
"All three sides we've played have been very strong in the tail, and Adam Milne's no mug with the bat and they were annoying runs. To have got them for 280-290 would have been nice, and we would have been batting again tonight, which was our plan when we kicked off the day.
"We have a lot of work to do, first of all to make sure we don't lose the game," Bradburn said. "We want to play some good cricket, dedicate time to the middle, hang in there and see what pans out."