Cricket: Canterbury reined in by Otago attack

Canterbury batsman Peter Fulton plays a shot through the on side during his innings of 102 in the Plunket Shield match against Otago at the University Oval yesterday. The wicketkeeper is Derek de Boorder. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.
Canterbury batsman Peter Fulton plays a shot through the on side during his innings of 102 in the Plunket Shield match against Otago at the University Oval yesterday. The wicketkeeper is Derek de Boorder. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.
Otago usually rolls out the green carpet for visiting sides this early in the summer.

But the typically lively University Oval pitch was a rather spent offering instead and Canterbury captain Peter Fulton mostly took advantage yesterday.

The former Black Cap posted his 10th first-class century to help his side reach 254 on a pitch where not a blade of grass was to be seen.

Otago had to face one over at the end of the day and made a mini statement with Hamish Rutherford stroking a boundary down the ground.

Otago coach Vaughn Johnson was thrilled with the way his side kept battling. Canterbury was 176 for one and looked to be getting into a dominant position.

"I wasn't all that happy at a 170-odd for one but the boys toiled well after lunch," Johnson said.

"To bowl them out and get maximum bonus points was very pleasing. There is not a lot in the wicket but there is no use talking about the wicket. That's what we are playing on. We just get on with it.

"It is important we bat well because it might get difficult on day four. But if we bat well in our first innings then maybe we can negate that."

At face value, Fulton's innings of 102 was a decent knock but a really big hundred was on offer had he been able to maintain his concentration.

But shortly after clipping a delivery from Jimmy Neesham to the fine leg boundary, Fulton pulled a short-pitched delivery from the same bowler straight to Darren Broom at square leg.

He had not looked like getting out but, as so often happens, relaxed once he reached the milestone and had a mental lapse.

Some of his team-mates took that as a cue to tune out. Dean Brownlie certainly did. He scooped a full toss back to the bowler. Henry Nicholls nicked out driving, and Shanan Stewart, having played patiently toget to 76, gently guided a ball straight to Neil Broom.

Canterbury lost its last nine wickets for 78 runs.

Ben McCord will probably count himself unlucky. Ian Butler was convinced he trapped him lbw but umpire Barry Frost took a long time to make the decision in favour of the bowler. The wicketkeeper, Derek de Boorder, was a metre down leg and Butler had just lost faith in his long appeal when Frost raised his finger.

While perhaps fortunate on that occasion, Butler bowled tremendously without much luck to achieve his one for 63.

Jacob Duffy enhanced his reputation with another impressive outing, taking three for 35, and Neesham bowled some tidy spells and got reward with two for 41.

Spinner Mark Craig was at his frugal best with three for 28 from 19.3 overs and seems to get better with every outing at first-class level.

Debutant Blair Soper was the only black spot in an otherwise fine bowling performance. The 21-year-old left-armer bowled too short and disappeared through point or to the midwicket boundary often.

He did manage to nab his maiden first-class wicket, though.

George Worker got a bottomedge when he tried to hoist the ball over midwicket.

Auckland has rocketed up the Plunket Shield standings after another fine day with the ball secured a 10-wicket win against Northern Districts at Eden Park's outer oval yesterday, APNZ reported.

The Knights were nine down when the heavens opened yesterday afternoon, trailing Auckland's first innings total by eight runs. They returned to achieve that target and take a 12-run lead but, in the day's remaining three overs, Auckland openers Lou Vincent and Tim McIntosh completed the small chase.

Auckland took 19 points from the match which propelled it from the bottom of the standings into third place after two matches.