Otago batsman Darren Broom gets an edge to first slip and
is caught by Canterbury captain Peter Fulton (left) during
the second day of the Plunket Shield match at the
University Oval yesterday. The wicketkeeper is Brad
Cachopa. Photo by Craig Baxter.
Otago promised more but delivered less on a day when
missed opportunities stole the limelight.
The home team managed a token first innings lead of 18 runs,
reaching 272 to overhaul Canterbury's first innings total of
But with the University Oval pitch starting to break up and
the ball bouncing in unpredictable fashion, batting will just
get harder and harder.
Otago has to bat last on the surface and would have wanted a
decent buffer. The more the merrier comes to mind.
Canterbury coach Gary Stead charitably suggested the game was
evenly poised going into day three.
"I think it is pretty even but Otago got more than we would
have liked after the start we had," Stead said.
"But they fought hard. I thought Mark Craig and Ian Butler,
in particular, batted well for them.
"At the end, a deficit of 18 runs was more important to us
than being two or three down at stumps. I was surprised they
didn't pull out when they were nine down and have a crack at
Stead said the key for his side today would be to put
together a meaningful partnership and keep battling away.
"If it [the pitch] continues to get worse, then anything we
get has to be chased down. One big partnership could turn the
match and put the game in our favour.
"We definitely didn't want to bat last on this wicket. It was
a tough decision to bat first because it had been under
covers for 24 hours. But at the end of the day we think our
spinners are good enough to take wickets on the last day."
Otago's Hamish Rutherford looked in fine touch early. He was
quick to punish width and anything over-tossed got driven
down the ground. And the ease at which he ramped a delivery
from Willie Lonsdale over gully for a boundary would have
inspired the Otago camp.
Fellow opener Aaron Redmond (15), though, was more
circumspect and just could not seem to get set. He was caught
in two minds. Instead of really attacking a full delivery
from Lonsdale, he pushed out at it and edged it to second
After making a bright start, Rutherford's innings of 46 lost
momentum and ultimately he squandered an opportunity.
But it was Michael Bracewell who was next to go. He was
undone by a turning delivery from improving off-spinner Tim
Johnston. The captain, Peter Fulton, took the catch.
Rutherford followed shortly after, chopping a delivery from
Ben McCord on to his stumps.
The medium-pacer was doing a wonderful job on a lifeless
deck. He removed Neil Broom lbw for a duck with a cracking
Suddenly, Otago had lost three wickets for three runs and at
lunch was 89 for four.
If Otago had been contemplating a lead by stumps, then
thoughts quickly turned to rebuilding the innings.
But Johnson trapped the Otago captain, Derek de Boorder, lbw
after the break.
The batsman got caught playing from the crease once too
Jimmy Neesham offered hope with a sparkling innings of 40 and
Mark Craig also added a valuable 40 as Otago crept closer to
a first innings lead.
Ian Butler (41) made sure of a small lead with a combination
of his usual power hitting and some memorable shots through
the covers, where he rocked back and gapped the ball nicely.
For Canterbury, Lonsdale was honest with two for 59 and
McCord bustled in for two for 49. But Johnson stood out with
three for 88 from 39 overs. He shapes as a key man tomorrow
should Canterbury set Otago a reasonable target.