Cricket: Munro has good hopes after double century

By David Leggat

Colin Munro. Photo / APN
Colin Munro. Photo / APN

Colin Munro hopes his marathon double century today helps move him away from being pigeon-holed as a one-day specialist.

The Auckland allrounder hit an unbeaten 269 as part of a record-smashing 377-run stand for the sixth wicket with Craig Cachopa, as their side took control of the Plunket Shield match against Wellington at Eden Park.

Munro was at the crease seven and a half hours and struck 27 fours and 14 sixes off 252 deliveries as Auckland plundered 659 for nine declared, for a 278-run first innings lead.

Going into the final day tomorrow, with the pitch good but starting to play the odd trick, Wellington will be 145 for two in their second innings, still requiring another 133 to make Auckland bat a second time.

Cachopa struck his maiden first-class hundred, 166, off 273 balls in just under six hours, making it a good week for the Cachopa family, after in-form brother Carl hit his third century in seven innings this season for Central Districts.

Munro's belligerent style has had him earmarked as a limited-overs specialist. The Durban-born 27-year-old is delighted to have proved those doubting his ability to play long innings wrong.

"Hopefully this can show I can bat for a long period of time and put big runs on the board, so it's been good for me and my confidence,'' he said tonight.

The pair kept bouncing thoughts between themselves during the partnership to keep their mind on the job.

"We're both ball strikers so we played our natural game and if one of us was going away from that, we'd just walk down and let him know.

"We set little targets. We knew we'd got past the sixth wicket record against Wellington and once we got that, we went from there and tried to get as many as we could.''

It is Munro's third first-class hundred, including 103 against Central Districts this season. Sunday's home game against Otago now looms as key in his mind.

"It doesn't take just one big score to put your hand up. You've got to back it up from game to game. I've got to start all over again and if I can get back to back big scores then things could start happening for you.''

Cachopa, who played for Wellington last season, got some friendly banter along the way, but was chuffed to have broken his first-class century duck.

"It's satisfying. I always believed I could do it and it's nice to get the job done. It's really good for the confidence.''

At McLean Park in Napier, Central Districts reaffirmed their dominance over Otago as the CD bowing attack came to the fore on day three.

Otago began the morning at 232-9 in their first innings in reply to CD's first innings of 476, and added 25 runs to their overnight total as Ian Butler swung his way to a first class best 73 not out before he ran out of willing partners as they were bowled out for 257.

Central paceman Andrew Lamb nabbed the final wicket to end with 2-40 from 16.5 overs as Otago failed to avoid the follow-on.

Central skipper Kieran Noema-Barnett then enforced the follow-on and requested that Otago bat again as he his bowlers took the Southerners to task again.

This time it was the unlikely pair of Carl Cachopa and Jeet Raval who provided the early breakthroughs as Cachopa's medium pace netted him the figures of 3-28 from 13 overs, while Raval's leg-spinners picked up 2-32 from 17 overs.

Otago closed day three on 237-8 with Mark Craig and Jacob Duffy at the crease on 20 and six respectively.

They face a massive task on day four tomorrow to avoid a heavy defeat.

Marathon Man Colin Munro's 269 not out is the second highest score by an Auckland batsman in first-class cricket, trailing only 290 by Bill Carson, also against Otago, in Dunedin in 1936-37.

It is the lefthander's second century of the Plunket Shield season in the space of three innings.

His 377-run stand with Craig Cachopa is Auckland's sixth-wicket record stand - eclipsing Martin Guptill and Colin de Grandhomme's 211 against Canterbury last season, and second only to the unbroken 379 by Shanan Stewart and Kruger van Wyk for Canterbury against Central Districts at New Plymouth in 2009-10 among the six provinces for that wicket.

The stand is also the fourth highest in all first-class cricket for the sixth wicket.

Auckland's 659 for nine declared is the province's third highest first-class total, after 693 for nine against Canterbury in Auckland in 1939-40; and 662 for five, against CD, in Auckland in 2008-09.

- APNZ

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