Big centuries dominated the opening day of the fourth round Plunket Shield today.

One game, between Wellington and Central Districts at the Basin Reserve, had its start delayed until tomorrow while the ground was checked for any earthquake damage.

The two captains who won the toss yesterday chose to send the opposition in and both had the move backfire badly.

At Mount Maunganui, Auckland sent leaders Northern Districts in, and fringe test batting candidate Dean Brownlie cashed in with an unbeaten 143.


It is Brownlie's 13th first-class century and second of the season, to steer ND to 324 for five.

Brownlie shared a 158-run third wicket stand with international allrounder Corey Anderson, who hit 103 off 131 balls for his fourth first-class ton.

The innings began well, with Brownlie and Anton Devcich (26) putting on 93 before the senior pair pressed on to put ND in solid shape.

Legspinner Tarun Nethula worked his way through three wickets during the day while fast bowler Lockie Ferguson nabbed two in consecutive overs late on to give Auckland some small consolation.

At Invercargill, Canterbury were sent in by Otago and charged through to 405 for five.

The day began encouragingly for Otago with Canterbury 108 for four, before veteran Andrew Ellis, who starts today on 184, and Cole McConchie (103) put on a memorable 258 for the fifth wicket.

Ellis hit 25 fours and seven sixes in his 151-ball century, his seventh and highest first-class century. Three of his seven sixes came in one over from seamer Christi Viljoen. It was McConchie's maiden first class century.

Otago medium pacer Michael Rae had a decent day with the ball, taking four for 86.