Canterbury's cause was seemingly lost but Michael Papps made the most of a bad situation in the State Championship cricket final in Wellington on Saturday.

Something outrageous needs to happen on the final day at the Basin Reserve today to deny Wellington the championship title.

As the top qualifiers they need only draw the match to be crowned champions, and that result is now the best Canterbury can realistically hope for on a pitch which has settled considerably since the visitors stumbled dramatically on the opening morning on Thursday.

Canterbury will resume today at 283-8 in their second innings, holding an overall lead of 174.

Captain Chris Harris knuckled down to grind out 18 unbeaten runs in almost two hours at the crease and much rests on his ability to go on this morning.

Papps, who is preparing for his debut test for New Zealand against South Africa in Hamilton next week, put his time in the middle to good use to score 91 opening the innings.

It continued a golden summer for the short right-hander, who announced his arrival on the one-day international scene by averaging more than 50 in the recent series against South Africa.

He proved a similar thorn to the bowlers at the Basin Reserve, sticking around for 266 minutes as he enjoyed the chance to reacquaint himself with the longer version of the game.

Papps struck seven fours and one six and enjoyed a stand of 107 for the second wicket with Peter Fulton, who made 58.

Opener Shanan Stewart contributed just two and others to fall cheaply included Brendon McCullum, Paul Wiseman and Gary Stead before Harris held himself in check while Warren Wisneski and Stephen Cunis hit out to score 33 and 35 not out, respectively.

Earlier, Matthew Walker was left stranded on 84 when Wellington was dismissed for 301 in their first innings for a lead of 109.

Seamer Chris Martin, recalled to the New Zealand squad for the first test against the Proteas, took five for 101 off 36 overs.

SCOREBOARD

Canterbury

First innings 192

Second innings

M Papps c Nevin b Walker 91

S Stewart c Walker b Franklin 2

P Fulton c Bell b Walker 58

B McCullum c Nevin b Gillespie 17

P Wiseman c Bell b Turner 7

G Stead c Bell b Franklin 6

C Harris not out 18

A Ellis c Bell b Franklin 3

W Wisneski lbw b Franklin 33

S Cunis not out 35

Extras (2b, 5lb, 4w, 2nb) 13

Total (for 8 wkts, 92 overs) 283

Fall: 12, 119, 155, 174, 188, 190, 196, 239.


Bowling: M Gillespie 22-3-79-1, J Franklin 22-4-56-4 (1nb), A Turner 25-2-84-1 (4w), M Walker 23-3-57-2 (1nb).

Wellington

First innings (overnight 288-9)

M Bell run out 17

R Jones c McCullum b Wisneski 13

G Donaldson c Ellis b Martin 14

J Franklin b Martin 62

N Parlane c Ellis b Martin 4

M Gillespie c Stead b Martin 7

M Parlane c McCullum b Wisneski 30

C Nevin lbw b Ellis 1

M Walker not out 84

L Woodcock b Ellis 26

A Turner c McCullum b Martin 16

Extras (9lb, 11w, 7nb) 27

Total (129 overs) 301

Fall: 23, 44, 47, 53, 62, 134, 143, 170, 243, 301.


Bowling: C Martin 36-10-101-5 (5nb, 4w), W Wisneski 23-3-75-2 (1nb, 3w), P Wiseman 12-5-17-0, S Cunis 14-5-39-0, A Ellis 30-13-41-2 (1nb), C Harris 10-5-15-0, S Stewart 4-2-4-0.

- NZPA