In sports, half the battle is won when players are capable of lifting themselves out of a mind swamp.
Having said that, it can be quite a difficult task when Jesse Ryder goes around swatting Devon Hotel Central Districts Stags bowlers like flies with his bat.
It's fair to say the Jamie How-led CD side will go into the final day of their four-day Plunket Shield cricket match against the Wellington Firebirds today with their mental faculties about them after Andrew Lamb dismissed Ryder for a paltry 19 runs from 12 balls, caught How at slips, but not before the former Bay cricketer hit three boundaries and a six at No4.
"Yes, he's been all over us recently so it was good to get him early," said former Wellington bowler Lamb in his debut season for the Stags.
The opening seamer took 2-19 from five overs as the hosts found themselves in a precariously 50-50 position of 53-3, still needing 194 runs to claim victory at Karori Park, Wellington.
The Stephen Murdoch-captained Wellington beat table-topping CD in the opening round at Nelson Park, Napier, and have also beaten them in the HRV Cup Twenty20 match at McLean Park, Napier, thanks mostly to Ryder's shield centuries in both innings and a bolshy knock of 75 in the hit-and-giggle format.
Lamb said it was the first time he had taken Ryder's scalp.
"He's been a handful for clubs here and especially CD."
CD English import Peter Trego also took a wicket late in the day and contributed 59 runs, including four fours and two sixes, to CD's innings of 389 all out after the visitors resumed yesterday at 98-1.
In-form Carl Cachopa, out for a duck in the first dig, scored 90 after opener Jeet Raval provided a platform of 74 with How's 51 to set the Firebirds a run chase of 247 for victory.
Wellington opener Michael Papps, unbeaten on 19, will be the key wicket for CD today after he carved up a century. Night watchman Scott Kuggeleijn is at the other end on eight as they chase a sedate two runs an over.
"We can't count our chickens just yet because they still have guys who can bat so if we get two to three more wickets in the morning then it'll be a good start," Lamb said, adding the Stags had a "pretty good feeling".
CD batsmen were disappointed with their first-innings total.
Lamb said the team were giving a break to Black Caps fast bowler Adam Milne, who will remain with them while undergoing rehabilitation for an Achilles injury that neither New Zealand Cricket nor CD want to risk.