Today's triumph over Otago gave Auckland another prize - a temporary share of top spot on the Plunket Shield standings.

But tomorrow they will watch helplessly as Canterbury attempt to finish off last-placed Central Districts and claim their third first-class title in four seasons.

Auckland will at least be content knowing they kept pressure on their co-leaders in the penultimate round, cruising to an eight-wicket win courtesy of a dominant bowling performance on the third day of their clash in Dunedin.

After Otago began the morning trailing by 23 runs with nine wickets in hand, Auckland's seam attack made light work of their task, eventually dismissing the home side for 205 inside two sessions.


As Anaru Kitchen mounted a lone resistance, scoring a run-a-ball century while the wickets tumbled at the other end, Rajvinder Sandhu (4-40), Lockie Ferguson (3-45) and Mitchell McClenaghan (2-23) combined to set their side a second-innings chase of 184.

And Auckland wasted no time in overhauling that target, with Glenn Phillips (59no from 43) appearing in a particular hurry as the visitors completed an eight-wicket win. But Auckland's efforts will be in vain if Canterbury convert their position of dominance into a competition-clinching outright victory tomorrow.

Canterbury will begin that quest in Nelson with a lead of 346, having continued to out-play their lowly opponents on day three. After dismissing Central Districts for 315 to take a 73-run lead, a rapid century from Cole McConchie saw Canterbury maximise enhance that advantage.

The middle-order batsman struck 131 from 145 balls to register his second first-class ton, helping his side reach 273-8 when stumps were drawn. An overnight declaration in search of the spoils would be no surprise but, at worst, Canterbury will re-take their lead once the bonus points they have already accrued are added to their tally.

In Mt Maunganui, meanwhile, Northern Districts are closing in on victory in a low-scoring encounter with Wellington, despite the best efforts of Michael Papps.

Beginning with his side 111 runs in arrears, the opener struck his 31st career first-class hundred and finished unbeaten on 120, but Papps regularly lost partners and Wellington were nine down with a lead of 102 at stumps.