Jesse Ryder has continued his sensational comeback to domestic cricket, by scoring his second century in as many days to lead the Wellington Firebirds to a five wicket win over Central Districts in the Plunket Shield at Nelson Park in Napier.
After scoring an unbeaten 117 from 114 balls in the first innings, the former Black Cap backed it up with 174 from 136 balls today to lay the platform for the Firebirds to the win with 13 overs remaining in the final day of play.
It was Ryder's 12th first class ton and it once again reinforced the 28-year-old's value to the New Zealand cricket side, after he took an indefinite break from international cricket in March.
Central begun the final day with a 266-run lead on 223 for six, and Black Caps all-rounder Doug Bracewell and Will Young stretched the lead out to 341 before the home side declared on 298 for seven from 94.3 overs.
Bracewell, who started the day on 34, hit 11 boundaries and one six on his way to 85 off 94 balls before he was caught by Jeetan Patel off the bowling of Andy McKay.
Wellington hit an early hurdle in their chase when former Black Caps Michael Papps was dismissed by Bracewell for one in the second over. Firebirds skipper Stephen Murdoch then fell in the 12th over, caught and bowled by Andrew Mathieson, for 17 leaving Wellington at 34-2.
That brought Ryder to the crease and it didn't take long for him to show his intentions bringing up his half century in just 34 minutes with five boundaries and two sixes in 39 balls.
Ryder and Michael Pollard got Wellington through to 97-3 before Taran Nethula had Pollard caught by Jeet Ravel for 24.
Despite losing Grant Elliott soon after, Ryder kept on and brought up his hundred off 85 balls and his 150 from 126, before being caught by Bracewell off the bowling of Carl Cachopa for 174.
Luke Woodcock navigated the closing stages well, reaching 69 from 133 balls with the help of Luke Ronchi who scored 36 from 43.
The Firebirds join Otago - who beat the Canterbury Wizards yesterday - at the top of the table after the first round of play.