Cricket: Andrews shines for Canterbury

A pair of unlikely performances left honours even after the opening day of the Plunket Shield clash between Auckland and Canterbury at Eden Park No 2 yesterday.

After a rare five-wicket bag from Kyle Mills put Auckland in control, English import Gareth Andrews rescued Canterbury from trouble with an unbeaten century batting at No 8.

By the end of the day Canterbury had reached 327-8 in their quest to overtake Auckland, two points above them in fourth, in the standings.

Canterbury's chances of achieving that result would have been significantly longer were it not for Andrews. The Englishman belied his first class average of 23 by reaching 126no from just 144 balls, smacking six sixes in the first century of his 72-match first class career.

His efforts overshadowed the bowling of Mills. The seamer snatched the last four wickets to fall on the day to record only his fourth five-wicket haul since making his debut 15 seasons ago.

With Peter Fulton away on international duty, 20-year-old Tom Latham was handed the captaincy for Canterbury and he promptly won the toss and elected to bat. By lunch that decision was beginning to look an errant one, as the visitors slumped to 79-5. But, after the break, Dean Brownlie and Todd Astle set about resurrecting the innings with the Wizards' first partnership of note.

Both men made half-centuries before Astle was dismissed for a breezy 50 to bring Andrews to the crease.

He and Brownlie had put on 119 for the seventh wicket by the time Brownlie fell for 75. But the loss of his partner did nothing to deter Andrews' charge towards three figures, surpassing his previous highest score of 92 before bringing up his maiden first class ton from 127 balls. Ryan McCone became Mills' fifth victim, leaving Andrews and Will Lonsdale (3no) unbeaten overnight

- The Aucklander

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