Cricket: How, Raval set to keep building

By Anendra Singh

Day 2, Plunket Shield

Eden Park No2

Just as police harp on about motorists driving sensibly, coaches tend to impress on their batsmen the virtue of patience.

Keep your head down, play in the "V", have the discipline not to fish outside the offstump (leaving a ball is just as important as playing one) are part of any astute coach's repertoire.

Devon Hotel Central Districts Stags openers Jamie How and Jeet Raval will no doubt take heed of that when they resume batting at Eden Park No2 today on 55 not out and 52 not out, respectively, against the Auckland Aces as CD were 107 after 33 overs in their second innings.

It's not that the pair need reminding considering former international How has more than 70 Plunket Shield appearances while left-hander Raval has more than 40 but a similar batting average in the late 30s as How.

Besides, stickability is a forte for How, who last summer scored an unbeaten 187 against Wellington in Napier and holds the CD record for the first-wicket partnership of 428 with retired Peter Ingram in 2009-10 against the same opposition in Wellington.

Former Auckland and New Zealand Under-19 representative Raval, ironically, scored 256 against CD in 2009-10.

Skittled for a below-par 233 in 57.3 overs on day one, CD relied on their bowlers to bend their backs to restrict the Gareth Hopkins-captained Auckland to 348 yesterday in 100.5 overs.

No4 Craig Cachopa, making the most of his second life after he was dropped on day one in the 30s, made the Stags pay with 145 runs from 196 balls, including 16 boundaries and seven sixes, before tickling a Doug Bracewell delivery to Mathew Sinclair at first slip.

Bar rookie Michael Guptill-Bunce's career-high 47 runs on Wednesday, none of the hosts' batsmen dug in yesterday, with Hopkins adding 32 runs.

Manawatu right-arm fast-medium pacer Bevan Small was the toast of CD's bowling attack, claiming a career-best 5-61 from 18.5 overs, including five maidens.

Black Caps opener Bracewell claimed 2-53 from 20 overs, including five maidens.

Small said Auckland players had revealed the first session of the past five games had yielded five-wicket bags for the team bowling first.

While CD's first-innings score was a little shy, the wicket was always going to favour the Paul Strang-coached Aces.

"The boys batted well today considering they came off after a long day of fielding.

"They've stuck it out and eaten most of Auckland's lead so we'll be a little behind on a big batting day tomorrow," said the 20-year-old who had a career best of 4-38 against Northern Districts last summer in Gisborne before yesterday.

Small ruled out adopting a defensive mind today, suggesting the Alan Hunt-coached, table-topping CD still fancied a victory, although a meeting this morning would draw a clearer game plan for the third day's play.

"There's still six sessions to go so we'll be building each session as we go."

Opener Kyle Jarvis was wicket-less but Small said the Zimbabwean international, before he joins his countrymen for a tour of West Indies after the game, was unlucky not to claim two lbw wickets. "That's the way cricket goes sometimes."

CD's in-form batsman, Carl Cachopa, will have the opportunity of emulating his brother's feat but so will veteran master batsman Sinclair and Black Cap Ross Taylor, returning from a self-imposed exile after his dumping as captain as he prepares for the England tour here shortly.

Taylor took three catches off Small in the slip cordon but today he'll have his last dress rehearsal at shield level before batting against England.

In Queenstown, Otago asserted their dominance over ND on day one of their meeting at the Queenstown Events Centre.

Second-placed Otago won the toss and opted to bowl, rolling ND for 217 in their first innings as only Daryl Mitchell (60) and lower-order batsman Ish Sodhi (52) offered resistance.

Former international Ian Butler was a demon with the ball as he took 6-65 from 19.4 overs.

At the Basin Reserve, Wellington, a useful 10th-wicket partnership between Ryan McCone and Tim Johnston saw Canterbury push to a respectable first-innings total of 329-9 declared against the hosts who on day one gifted 19 no balls.

Captain Peter Fulton made a quick-fire 94 runs before the Firebirds saw two overs through before the end of the day for one run at stumps.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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