Centuries from Dean Brownlie and Corey Anderson put Northern Districts in the box seat after day one of the Plunket Shield match at Mount Maunganui's Bay Oval.

The Northern Knights duo made Auckland captain Rob Nicol pay dearly for bowling first with a third-wicket partnership of 158.

Auckland grabbed three late wickets to have something to show for a long day in the field with Northern strongly placed on 324/5 at stumps.

Mount Maunganui resident Brownlie, unwanted by the New Zealand selectors in tests since May 2013, showed why he should be considered when top order test places are being considered.


He batted right through the day in a masterful display of concentration and no little skill to record his 13th first-class century. His unbeaten 143 came off 265 balls and included 17 boundaries.

Anderson hit 16 lusty boundaries in his fine knock of 103 which was his fourth first-class ton. He took a while to get into his usual free-flowing style, needing 81 balls to reach 50, but just 50 balls for his next 53 runs.

He joined Brownlie after Tauranga local Bharat Popli was dismissed for nine in another disappointing innings.

His golden form last summer saw him named NZ Player of the Year and put him in the frame for a Black Caps breakthrough. This season Popli has had seven first-class innings with a top score of just 28.

There is no doubt he has the class, talent and temperament to become a test player but he needs to start putting big runs on the board.

Leg spinner Tarun Nethula was the pick of the Auckland bowlers taking 3-57 off 26 overs with quickie Lachie Ferguson picking up two late wickets.

Play is scheduled to get under way today - weather permitting - at 10.30am with free entry.