Northern Districts legspinner Ish Sodhi has been the standout performer on the debut of day-night Plunket Shield cricket.

Unwanted by the Black Caps for their first test against South Africa in Dunedin on Wednesday, Sodhi put in a superb showcase for a recall, taking 7-107 against Central Districts at Seddon Park.

But he had company by the end of play, with CD's Seth Rance claiming a remarkable 4-6 in the last hour before stumps.

Playing with a pink ball under floodlights, the day's play ran through to 10.00pm, by which time the night sky made things difficult for batsmen and fielders.


All three sides batting first were slow to get going in the new conditions. At drinks after 16 overs, CD were at 20-0, Wellington at 25-0, and Canterbury struggling at 26-4.

By the end of play, scoring had proven easier to come by, except for in Hamilton, where Sodhi was wreaking havoc.

Bowling 33 overs unchanged, Sodhi barely had an over go by without an appeal or edge as he claimed the first five wickets to fall with his attacking leggies.

CD opener Greg Hay provided strong resistance with 90, while 72 from George Worker had CD in a favourable position at 176-2. However, Sodhi's prodigious turn, bounce, and speed off the wicket ripped through the middle order, with CD eventually declaring at 272-9 to make ND bat in the dark conditions.

The tactic worked impeccably, as Rance destroyed the ND top order, reducing them to 28-4 at the end of play.

At Westpac Stadium, Wellington's Michael Papps was the first player to bring up a pink-ball century, and his 29th in first-class cricket. After taking 30 balls to get off the mark, Papps made 105 to lead Wellington to 252-5 against Otago.

Fellow veteran Andy Ellis also reached three figures to drag Canterbury back from their horror start against Auckland at Eden Park Outer Oval. Ellis' 103 was supported by a patient 92 by Ken McClure and a rapid 43 from Tim Johnston as they reached 305-8 at stumps.