Auckland are strongly placed to press on for an outright win over joint table toppers Wellington in their fifth round Plunket Shield clash at Colin Maiden Park tomorrow.

Wellington will start their second innings at 155 for four, still trailing Auckland overall by 183.

The hosts pressed on from their overnight 369 for four to reach 512 for nine before declaring. It was an impressive batting performance in which runs came right down the line, finishing with an 85-run stand for the ninth wicket between Tarun Nethula and Donovan Grobbelaar.

Grobbelaar has nabbed two of the four Wellington wickets and tomorrow Auckland have the chance to wrap up a convincing win, and go clear on their own at the top of the ladder.

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Northern Districts face a curly last day against Otago in Dunedin. They are 38 for three in their second innings, chasing a tricky 201 to win.

Having secured a 97-run first innings lead, they then dismissed Otago for 287, of which Michael Bracewell hit 96 and Brad Wilson 64, to follow his first innings 97.

International legspinner Ish Sodhi was the star turn for ND with the ball, taking career-best figures of seven for 102 off 27.3 overs.

At Nelson, there's the prospect of another intriguing finish with hosts Central Districts 112 for one, requiring 376 to topple Canterbury.

Ben Smith (65 not out) and Greg Hay (34 not out) are set and have added 82. Canterbury will be grumpy if CD win; they have dominated the bulk of the first three days.

PLUNKET SHIELD SCOREBOARDS

Auckland v Wellington

(All stumps, day three)

Wellington
First innings 174

Auckland

First innings (overnight 369-4)
J. Raval c Ronchi b Hutchinson 7
M. Guptill-Bunce c Blundell b Verma 89
R. O'Donnell lbw b Borthwick 167
R. Nicol b Borthwick 22
B. Cachopa lbw b Hutchinson 60
C. de Grandhomme c Blundell b Hutchinson 19
S. Hicks c Verma b Patel 22
N. McAndrew run out 26
D. Grobbelaar not out 44
T. Nethula c Colson b Hutchinson 41
Extras (4b, 6lb, 3w, 2nb) 15

Total (for 9 wkts dec, 167.5 overs) 512
Fall: 1-7, 2-179, 3-247, 4-330, 5-373, 6-376, 7-422, 8-427, 9-512.

Bowling: B. Arnel 39-6-121-0 (3w, 1nb), D. Hutchinson 31.5-12-89-4 (1nb), A. Verma 21-6-69-1, J. Patel 52-11-134-1, S. Borthwick 18-0-61-2, L. Woodcock 6-0-28-0

Wellington

Second innings
L. Woodcock c Nicol b Bates 2
M. Papps c Raval b Grobbelaar 47
S. Murdoch c Cachopa b Grobbelaar 13
S. Borthwick not out 50
L. Ronchi b Nethula 26
T. Blundell not out 7
Extras (6b, 1w, 3nb) 10

Total (for 4 wkts, 44 overs) 155
Fall: 1-15, 2-35, 3-80, 4-136.

Bowling: M. Bates 10-1-29-1 (1w, 1nb), N. McAndrew 10-2-35-0, D. Grobbelaar 7-2-19-2, C. de Grandhomme 4-2-16-0, T. Nethula 13-0-50-1 (2nb)

Central Districts v Canterbury

Canterbury
First innings 204

CD
First innings 168

Canterbury

Second innings (overnight 171-3)

L. Carter c Robinson b Patel 82
M. Davidson c Worker b Tickner 27
P. Fulton c Cleaver b Bruce 27
C. Bowes st Cleaver b Bruce 33
C. McConchie c Bruce b Patel 30
A. Ellis b Patel 63
T.D Astle c Young b Patel 5
C. Fletcher c Robinson b Patel 36
L. van Beek b Patel 1
T. Johnston c sub b Patel 24
K. Jamieson not out 0
Extras (7b, 2lb, 2w) 11
Total (103.5 overs) 339

Fall: 1-71, 2-123, 3-170, 4-178, 5-236, 6-242, 7-307, 8-314, 9-325.

Bowling: N. Patel 21-6-55-1, B. Tickner 20-1-86-1 (2w), A. Patel 39.5-7-152-6, T. Bruce 9-1-17-2, B. Smith 4-2-3-0, G. Worker 10-1-17-0

Central Districts

Second innings

D. Robinson c van Beek b Jamieson 12
B. Smith not out 65
G. Hay not out 34
Extras (1nb) 1

Total (for 1 wkt, 42.0 overs) 112
Fall: 1-30.

Bowling: K. Jamieson 10-4-20-1, L. van Beek 8-1-23-0, T. Johnston 5-1-17-0 (1nb), A. Ellis 6-1-23-0, T. Astle 13-4-29-0

Otago v Northern Districts

Otago
First innings 237
ND
First innings 324

Otago

Second innings (overnight 33-0)

H. Rutherford b Sodhi 39
B. Wilson c Seifert b Kuggeleijn 64
M. Bracewell c & b Sodhi 96
N. Broom b Sodhi 9
J. Neesham c Brownlie b Kuggeleijn 0
D. de Boorder c Seifert b Sodhi 8
N. McCullum b Sodhi 19
S. Wells st Seifert b Sodhi 17
C. Smith run out 8
J. Duffy not out 3
J. Hunter c Brownlie b Sodhi 0
Extras (8b, 8lb, 6w, 2nb) 24

Total (76.3 overs) 287
Fall: 1-103, 2-147, 3-176, 4-177, 5-196, 6-222, 7-264, 8-280, 9-286.

Bowling: S. Kuggeleijn 21-2-79-2 (2w, 2nb), J. Baker 15-5-43-0, I. Sodhi 27.3-4-102-7, T. Goodin 11-2-42-0, A. Devcich 2-1-5-0

ND

Second innings

D. Flynn c Hunter b Duffy 4
D. Brownlie lbw b Duffy 12
J. Carter not out 18
B. Popli c de Boorder b Wells 4
I. Sodhi not out 0
Extras 0

Total (for 3 wkts, 20.0 overs) 38
Fall: 1-4. 2-31, 3-38.

Bowling: J. Duffy 6-1-18-2, C. Smith 7-3-11-0, J. Hunter 5-3-9-0, S. Wells 2-2-0-1