Only a downpour prevented Jesse Ryder from yesterday adding to the deluge of runs he has scored this summer in search of an international return.
After a rain-interrupted opening day of the Plunket Shield clash between Otago and Wellington, Ryder is well-placed to again cash in against his former side and continue to build his case for a national recall.
The Otago No4 ended a truncated day in Invercargill unbeaten on 39 from 63 balls, peppering seven boundaries throughout his two-hour stay at the crease. Ryder enjoyed handy partnerships with Neil Broom (51) and Nathan McCullum (15no) to help the hosts through to 141-4 at stumps.
But, of more importance ahead of the limited overs series against the West Indies, Ryder enjoyed some more invaluable time in the middle and has a base to build another big score tomorrow.
Coming into the contest, Ryder had scored 366 runs at an average of 73.20 in the Plunket Shield, a rich vein of form which began with a century against Wellington in his first innings since being the victim of an assault.
The mercurial batsman has been open about his desire to return to the national side and, ahead of the first of five one-dayers against the West Indies on Boxing Day, he may force the selectors' hand sooner rather than later.
Elsewhere, a 218-run stand for the sixth wicket between Peter Trego and Kruger van Wyk has Auckland on the back foot against Central Districts in Napier.
With the two teams languishing in the bottom places on the Plunket Shield ladder, the onus is on both sides to force a result and avoid falling further off the pace.
Auckland appeared in the ascendancy early, with a pair of wickets from Mitchell McClenaghan helping to reduce the hosts to 122-5, before Englishman Trego stroked 141 from 147 balls, receiving able assistance from van Wyk (83).
CD closed the day on 382-7, with both sides having earned three bonus points but Auckland behind on the cards.
In Christchurch, competition leaders Canterbury are in good position to add to their lead, dismissing Northern Districts for 176 before reaching stumps on 131-5.
Amid a day for the bowlers which saw only two batsman reach 50 - Daniel Flynn (50) and Dean Brownlie (63) - the match held the unusual distinction of seeing a wicket fall on the first delivery of both sides' innings.