Cricket: Central Districts put pressure on

Central Districts piled on the runs on day two of their Plunket Shield match against Northern Districts in Nelson today as they look to lock up the domestic four-day cricket title.

CD entered the game with a small lead in the competition standings over Otago and bowled out ND for 267 on day one and closed play today on 397-9 on the back of 121 from Jeet Raval and 93 from veteran opener Jamie How.

The home side suffered a flurry of wickets during the middle of their innings at the Saxton Oval but New Zealand test player Doug Bracewell added a brisk 67 to push CD to a formidable total and a lead of 130 runs.

They will look to bowl Northern out tomorrow in a bid to wrap up an outright victory and lock up the Plunket Shield.

Otago, who are hoping to find a way to reel in CD, have continued their strong showing against Wellington at the Basin Reserve as they made 378 in their first innings as they racked up a 123-run lead against the Firebirds.

A career-best 152 from Otago opener Aaron Redmond laid the platform for the visitors, while Sam Wells added 81 and Jimmy Neesham produced a boundary-laden 48.

Wellington off-spinner Jeetan Patel picked up 5-80 from 40.1 overs as he turned the screws on Otago.

Wellington closed day two on 33-1, still 90 runs behind with Josh Brodie and Stephen Murdoch at the crease.

In the battle for the wooden spoon at the Hagley Oval in Christchurch, Canterbury applied the blowtorch to Auckland.

The Cantabrians cobbled together 302 in their first innings in reply to Auckland's first-up effort of 173 on day one to establish a healthy lead.

Auckland were then reduced to 110-7 at the close of play on day two and still trail by 19 runs with only three second-innings wickets in hand.

Canterbury paceman Matt McEwan took 3-41 today, while Ryan McCone picked up 2-16.

Auckland skipper Gareth Hopkins finished the day unbeaten on 25 but will need to find a reliable partner tomorrow if Auckland want to bat long enough to avoid a heavy defeat.

- APNZ

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