How ton provides platform for Stags

By ANENDRA SINGH sports editor

Plunket Shield, day 3

Eden Park No 2

It was his 15th first-class career century but Jamie How wasn't answering his cellphone last night.

Some may argue the Devon Hotel Central Districts opening batsman didn't need to after scoring 124 runs to keep the Stags in the game against the Auckland Aces on the third day of the Plunket Shield match yesterday.

How, who resumed on 55 not out with fellow opener Jeet Raval on an unbeaten 52, built a 160-run partnership as CD slowly but surely ground out a total of 386 to stumps, establishing a 270-run lead with four wickets in hand.

Former Black Caps wicketkeeper Kruger van Wyk and Black Caps test seamer Doug Bracewell will resume today on 31 and 36, respectively, at Eden Park No 2.

"Jamie's had a big day. He's been working really hard so it's nice to see him get some reward from that," Hunt said last night of the former New Zealand batsman who last scored an unbeaten 187 runs against the Wellington Firebirds in Napier last summer.

The 31-year-old from Manawatu brought up his score from 201 balls in 295 minutes on the crease, carving up 11 boundaries and six sixes before falling to spinner Bruce Martin.

The coach also lauded Raval for for his 77 runs, including 12 boundaries, although he didn't push on to bring up three figures.

"To be fair the Auckland boys bowled pretty well in warm conditions."

Hunt wasn't complaining but impressed a total of 300 at stumps would have put CD in a better position today after the Stags were skittled for a paltry total on a wicket that has offered the toss-winning captain electing to bowl first considerable five-wicket purchase.

The game is tilted in favour of the gareth Hopkins-captained hosts who must be keen to wrap up the tail although the CD tail are capable of adding 50 to 60 more runs to make a game of it.

The Stags, 40 points ahead of the Aces but having played a game more, will be in no hurry to declare after Auckland mustered 348 runs on Thursday.

No 3 Carl Cachopa contributed a useful 53 runs but the inform CD batsman couldn't emulate the feat of his brother, Craig, who racked up 145 in Auckland's first dig.

Hunt emphasised No 10 Bevan Small, Thursday's five-wicket bag hero, scored a century in the Hawke Cup qualifying match for Manawatu in the last round while No 9 Tarun Nethula was 25 not out in the first innings.

Dumped international captain Ross Taylor matched his first-innings of 21 before the T20 matches against England next week.

"Ross looked good in the time he spent out there with Auckland setting ring fields," Hunt said, adding it would be interesting to see if the Paul Strang-coached hosts would employ an attacking one today.

"Auckland can play the game as well by allowing us to make some runs," he said, feeling a 320-plus total would have CD skipper Kieran Noema-Barnett to contemplate a declaration.

The wicket was turning so Nethula will come into play.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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