Central Districts Stags spinner Ajaz Patel struggled to find the words to describe the temperament of the University Oval wicket in Dunedin last night.
"I don't know how to kind of word it but it's not a very fresh wicket and it's not doing a hell of a lot," says Patel, who should know because he has been the top spinner in the four-day Plunket Shield domestic competition for the past two summers.
The 29-year-old slow, left-arm orthodox bowler revealed the plan of attack for Stags skipper William Young was to pass the follow-on target and then see where the game took them, perhaps even contemplating a declaration while trailing the Otago Volts' mammoth first-innings total of 513-7.
Resuming at 163-2 overnight, the visitors were skittled with only Jesse Ryder and Tom Bruce passing half centuries to emulate the efforts of openers Greg Hay and George Worker on Wednesday.
Otago will resume at 161-5 in their second dig, with wicketkeeper Derek de Boorder (7 runs) and Anaru Kitchen (16) still at the batting crease.
It was a day of disruptions yesterday with passing showers in the morning delaying the game by an hour before bad light kicked in late in the afternoon although play resumed after that.
"Unfortunately we lost wickets in a cluster towards the back end there but, overall, I don't think we're in too bad a position to be in," he said as the Volts lead by 315 runs but will be mindful of setting a CD run chase that could yield an outright win for the hosts.
Otago captain Rob Nicol and his men made their intentions clear as they chanced their arms with some lusty hitting off Black Caps speed merchant Adam Milne although the opening seamer and Patel's fast/slow combination yielded 2-58 and 3-59, respectively.
Not mincing his words, Patel said it was simply a case of the Volts wanting to play ball.
"They've got to set us a total and we've got to go out there and chase it down [today] so it'll be interesting to see how they go about it because [yesterday] afternoon they showed a lot of intent so, by all accounts, they are trying to set up something but exactly what it is, we're not so sure."
The You Travel Taradale CC premier club cricketer said the Stags were mindful Otago wouldn't want to use up too many overs because they would need a few in the bank to skittle CD.
"It gives us a good opportunity to chase down a total as well so this game is far from over and there's a lot of cricket to be played," he said.
Patel said they weren't worried that leaders Wellington Firebirds had won their game on Thursday and the Auckland Aces who walloped ND Knights by eight wickets yesterday.
CD and the Volts have claimed maximum four bonus points in batting but the former has only completed two in bowling while the latter again claimed the maximum four.