Central Districts could not take their chances and curtail a full-strength Canterbury batting line up in Napier yesterday, highlighting why the Wizards are this season's four-day champions as they batted around their young star.
Black Caps batsman Tom Latham, opening the innings for Canterbury, struck 30 boundaries and one six in his innings of 261, giving the Wizards a lead of 128 runs heading into the fourth and final day of the Plunket Shield fixture at McLean Park.
Devon Hotel Stags captain Jamie How tried literally everything on a mostly fruitless day in the field, even experimenting with wicketkeeper Kruger van Wyk at the bowling crease for one over.
The left-handed Latham became only the third player in New Zealand's four-day competition history to score two double centuries in a season, after earlier scoring 200 against Wellington. The others were Wellington allrounder John Hiddleston in the 1925-26 season, when the domestic competition consisted of only three matches, and Canterbury cult hero Chris Harris.
Latham, 21, was eventually dismissed by Stags leg spinner Tarun Nethula, his only scalp of the day, while former Black Cap batsman Dean Brownlie also contributed with a patient 80 from 244 balls. Spinner Ajaz Patel and medium pace bowler Roald Badenhorst were the pick of the CD bowlers with figures of 4 for 139 from 48 overs, and 3 for 76 from 25 overs respectively.
Canterbury finished the day 531-8 in response to the Stags' first innings score of 403.
Stags head coach Heinrich Malan said his bowlers toiled away on a flat deck, but he was disappointed not to grasp the two opportunities presented by Latham earlier in his innings.
"He's [Latham] had a good season and is certainly in a bit of a purple patch at the moment and a very talented young player ... but he did give a couple of chances after tea [on day two] that we just didn't hang on to."
Malan was disappointed with leg spinner Nethula, who he said struggled to find his length on a slow turning pitch.
"He was a little bit short and with the slow turn the ball just sits up and with those short, square boundaries he was punished accordingly.
"We are still looking to create a result from the game, so the boys will be in for a tough one tomorrow. They [Canterbury] have commented in the papers before about the brand of cricket they want to play so hopefully they will set up a score for us to chase." CD confirmed incumbent captain Kieran Noema-Barnett had been rested from the final match of the season due to a few niggles in preparation for the 50-over Ford Trophy competition beginning Sunday.