Cricket: Batsmen cash in at Eden Park

By David Leggat

Batsman Martin Guptill. Photo / Photosport
Batsman Martin Guptill. Photo / Photosport

It's a runfest at Eden Park No 2 as Wellington and Auckland battle for the advantage in their third round Plunket Shield cricket match.

At the halfway point, Auckland are 220 for two in response to leaders Wellington's first innings 475 for eight.

Test opener Martin Guptill made 56, while one of those challenging for a test spot, Jeet Raval, got 84 and Michael Guptill-Bunce is unbeaten on 66. It's not much fun for the bowlers.

The national selectors picked the crop of the next line of test batting contenders to play for New Zealand A against Pakistan in Nelson next weekend. But they left out the man in better form than any of them, Wellington veteran Luke Woodcock.

In Shield games so far, Woodcock has scores of 6, 98, 120 and 203, after hitting his second first-class double century. Woodcock also went past coach Bruce Edgar (6494 runs) to become the Firebirds' second highest all-time scorer in first-class cricket with 6557, trailing only Matthew Bell's 6565.

Woodcock is averaging 106, having batted one minute shy of 500 and faced 366 balls, with 29 fours and a six in his marathon. The 34-year-old allrounder's ninth first-class ton fell just short of his best, 220 against Central Districts seven years ago

Wicketkeeper Tom Blundell showed he's in decent form ahead of the Pakistan game with 85, adding 137 with Woodcock for the fifth wicket.

Canterbury are well placed to get maximum points against Northern Districts in Hamilton, at 84 for two, chasing 208 for victory.

In Dunedin, Central Districts have a scrap on their hands, at 80 for four, replying to Otago's 402.

- NZ Herald

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