Central Districts import Peter Trego added a vital 59 runs and took a wicket late in the day to give the Stags a chance of victory after three days of their Plunket Shield encounter with Wellington at Karori Park in the capital.
Central began day three today on 98-1 as they went about working off the 143-run first-innings deficit they faced, and a valuable 90 from Carl Cachopa and 74 from opener Jeet Raval put the Alan Hunt-coached Stags back in the contest.
But after a minor collapse in the middle order, a swashbuckling 59 from Trego, which included four fours and two sixes, pushed Central to 389 in their second innings, leaving Wellington in need of 247 for victory.
The Wellingtonians faced a tricky 13-over stint at the crease late in the day, and Trego removed Firebirds' opener Josh Brodie for four before Wellington discard Andrew Lamb came back to haunt his old team as he claimed two late scalps.
The right-arm seamer dismissed Stephen Murdoch for two and picked up the crucial wicket of the in-form Jesse Ryder, to leave the game tantalisingly poised heading into the fourth and final day tomorrow, with Wellington on 53-3.
Ryder had the ability to take the game away from CD single-handedly but he was sent on his way for 19, which came from only 12 balls as he smashed three fours and a six in his cameo at the crease.
The home side need another 194 runs for victory, and much will rest on the shoulders of opener Michael Papps, who finished the day unbeaten on 19.
Papps made a century in the first innings and looks to have found his touch after a mixed start to the summer, while night watchman Scott Kuggeleijn is at the other end on eight.