Auckland have taken a commanding lead at the halfway point of
their Plunket Shield match against Northern Districts thanks
to a record seventh-wicket partnership.
After bowling out the visitors for 208 yesterday at Eden
Park's outer oval, Auckland looked to be stuttering their way
towards a similar score when they were reduced to 150-6.
But that brought No 8 Bruce Martin to the crease where he
joined Craig Cachopa in an unlikely stand to leave the Aces
with a lead of 157 at stumps and three wickets still in hand.
Martin evidently excels playing against the province for whom
he made his debut and played 10 seasons. The left-arm spinner
was the pick off the bowlers in the first innings, claiming
four wickets, and he backed that up with a potentially
match-winning knock with the bat today.
He batted for almost four hours in the afternoon to bring up
his second first-class century, finishing unbeaten on 107 at
stumps - six short of his highest score.
Martin and Cachopa put on 168 for the seventh wicket - a
record for Auckland against Northern Districts - before
Cachopa finally fell to spinner Ish Sodhi for 82.
The Aces were fortunate to receive such considerable
contributions from their No 7 and No 8, after five of the top
six made starts but failed to push past 50.
Five Northern Districts' bowlers shared the first six
Auckland wickets but no one from the defending champions
could break through the staunch resistance they found in the
Auckland nabbed three batting bonus points to go with the
four their bowlers had accumulated, meaning even a draw would
push them past the defending champion Knights and off the
bottom spot on the ladder.
However, Martin, Michael Bates (10no) and the rest of the
Aces will begin tomorrow morning with their sights set
- Kris Shannon of APNZ