Cricket: Wickets for Wagner in Plunket Shield

By Niall Anderson

Neil Wagner. Photo / Photosport
Neil Wagner. Photo / Photosport

Neil Wagner has marked his return to the Plunket Shield in style as Otago wrestled control of their clash with Auckland today.

Wagner claimed 5-55 as Otago routed Auckland for 145, earning an unexpected 19-run first innings lead.

They then built on that advantage with the first substantial partnerships of the clash, with Brad Wilson (35) and Josh Finnie (50 not out) supporting Neil Broom's unbeaten 92 as Otago moved through to 193-2 at stumps.

Central Districts have also taken a sizeable advantage in their clash with Canterbury thanks to a balanced batting effort.

Canterbury were bowled out for 202 in their first innings early on day two, with Ajaz Patel claiming five wickets and Seth Rance picking up four.

CD received valuable contributions throughout the order in their response, as Greg Hay (89) Will Young (52), Ben Wheeler (58) and Dane Cleaver (78 not out) combined for some aggressive strokeplay against the Canterbury bowling attack.

Central reached 343-7 by the close of play, with Rance resuming with Cleaver, who will be searching for his second first-class ton.

Aggressive batting was also a staple of Northern Districts' first innings against Wellington, with leading all-rounder Scott Kuggeleijn bringing up his third first-class century to drag his side to 285 all out.

Top-order batsman Joe Carter broke out of a slump with a much-needed 63, while future international wicket-keeper Tim Seifert (42) also chipped in.

Seam bowlers did most of the damage for Wellington, with Hamish Bennett claiming four scalps, Iain McPeake snaring three and Brent Arnel earning two.

However, Kuggeleijn was a tough man to dismiss, adding 64 for the eighth wicket with Joe Walker and 58 for the ninth with Jimmy Baker as ND grafted to a reasonable score after being in serious trouble at 56-5.

Kuggeleijn averaged 49.5 with the bat in the Plunket Shield last season, and has already claimed a six-wicket bag this campaign, showcasing his all-round abilities.

He will be required with the ball early on day three when Wellington start their first innings in a rain-affected game which will likely need aggressive declarations to manufacture an outright result.

- NZ Herald

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