Daniel Richardson is a Wellington-based sports journalist for NZME. News Service.

Cricket: Brownlie finds form ahead of test clash

Dean Brownlie. Photo / Getty Images
Dean Brownlie. Photo / Getty Images

Dean Brownlie stroked 51 from 83 balls for Canterbury yesterday to gain an important confidence boost ahead of New Zealand's test match against South Africa in Wellington, starting tomorrow.

At the University Oval in Dunedin, Brownlie cracked six fours and two sixes, which would have been pleasing for national coach John Wright after the Australian-born right-hander made a six-ball duck in the first innings of the Plunket Shield clash against Otago.

Brownlie's knock helped Canterbury through to 265-6 in their second innings, while fellow international Tom Latham made 70 as the visitors set Otago 268 to win.

Otago were on 259-5 when play was finally called off for the day, and the result left the Southerners at the bottom of the Plunket Shield ladder with one round to go.

During their run chase, Michael Bracewell (61 not out), Hamish Rutherford (67) and Craig Cumming (57) all made half-centuries and when openers Rutherford and Cumming were at the crease with the score at 115-0 the game looked as if it would be over well before dark.

But Canterbury leg-spinner Todd Astle got rid of both openers and also picked up the scalp of Sam Wells to finish with figures of 3-68.

At Colin Maiden Park in Auckland, rain took away the opportunity to see an outright result in the clash between Auckland and Northern Districts.

Poor weather dogged the game throughout the four days, and despite Auckland declaring their first innings at 43-2 in a bid to deny Northern bonus points for taking more Auckland wickets they were promptly put back in to bat for their second dig.

The home side then mustered 31-1 before the weather finally closed in and play was called off.

Northern held on to a 15-point lead in the Plunket Shield over Auckland and look a sound bet for the title.

In Wellington, no play was possible again on day four as the match between Wellington and Central Districts finished in a draw, which was notable for Luke Ronchi's whirlwind 111 in his first innings for the Firebirds.


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