Sam Wells completes one of the 78 runs he scored during
Otago's first innings in its Plunket Shield match against
Central Districts at Nelson Park, Napier, yesterday. Photo
by Hawke's Bay Today.
Adam Milne was fast-tracked into international cricket
two years ago because he has something you just cannot coach -
The 20-year-old Central Districts strike bowler used that
extra zip to good effect yesterday, scything through the
Otago batting line-up to claim his maiden five-wicket bag
during a Plunket Shield match in Napier.
Earlier he got within three runs of a maiden century. What a
day it would have been for the rising star had he got those
His efforts, though, have helped put his side in a seemingly
unassailable position at stumps on day two. And no doubt
mentor and Black Caps bowling coach Shane Bond has taken note
of Milne's latest effort.
Central resumed on 367 for seven and posted a formidable 476
thanks partly to a damaging 133-run eighth-wicket partnership
between Milne and Tarun Nethula.
Otago is in a desperate situation at 232 for nine and needs
another 95 runs to avoid the follow-on mark.
While Otago will need to bat well to avoid defeat, it might
be tempted to send an SOS to Sri Lanka.
The team's leading bowling Neil Wagner has been sitting on
the sidelines for the Black Caps for the past few weeks and
the Volts desperately need him back in the mix. Without
Wagner, and with James McMillan ruled out with injury,
Otago's attack has been cruelly exposed.
Eighteen-year-old Jacob Duffy and rookie Blair Soper have
discovered just how tough first-class cricket can be. And
change bowlers Ian Butler and Jimmy Neesham have not had much
success during the past two days either.
Nethula and Milne added 98 from 129 deliveries on Monday
evening and twisted the knife yesterday, adding another 35
runs to break Central's eighth-wicket partnership record
against Otago of 113, set by Ross Taylor and Robbie Schaw in
Napier in 2006-07.
Nethula posted his maiden century before he was undone on 108
and Milne significantly improved on his previous highest
first-class score of 38.
But if Milne was peeved at missing out on a ton,
disappointment soon gave way to elation, with the young fast
bowler picking up three quick wickets.
He bowled Hamish Rutherford and Michael Bracewell with
consecutive deliveries and then claimed Aaron Redmond's
wicket in the eighth over to leave the visitors struggling at
22 for three.
Otago all-rounder Sam Wells, who recovered from a hamstring
strain to play as a specialist batsman, combined with captain
Derek de Boorder to help relieve some pressure. By tea, Otago
had recovered somewhat at 128 for four.
But that man Milne struck again. He bowled de Boorder and
then nicked out Neesham with his next delivery to complete
his maiden five-wicket bag.
Wells' fine counterattack came to an end on 78 with the
left-hander trapped lbw.
Butler picked up the challenge and posted his fifth
first-class half century. He will resume on 53 alongside
Soper who is yet to score.
Otago coach Vaughn Johnson felt if his side could squeeze out
another 30 or 40 runs it might be enough to convince Central
not to enforce the follow-on.
"We've had a poor day," Johnson said.
"But we had a mini recovery at the end and I know we are well
behind the eight ball, but we've had a positive talk in the
room and look forward to tomorrow.
"If we can get 270-odd then they might feel they need to bat
At Eden Park, Auckland and Wellington are basically back to
where they started from.
Wellington posted 380 but Auckland batted every bit as well
and was 381 for five at stumps on day two.
Colin Munro bought up his third first-class century off 110
balls and is undefeated on 122.
He had good support from Craig Cachopa, who is also
undefeated on 74.