The Black Caps' loss has been Northern Districts' gain, with
Tim Southee producing a stunning individual performance on
day one of his team's Plunket Shield match in Wellington
Southee smashed 156 from 130 balls to lead his side to a
total of 403, before picking up four Wellington wickets late
in the day to reduce the hosts to 32-4.
The 24-year-old hit 18 fours and six sixes in recording his
maiden first class century while he also emerged triumphant
in the much-anticipated battle with Jesse Ryder, bowling the
in-form batsman for a two-ball duck.
Southee is playing in the match only after being left out of
New Zealand's squad for their upcoming Twenty20 series in
South Africa due to the impending birth of his first child.
And the prospect of fatherhood appears to be sitting well
with Southee, who began his international career by showing
the potential to become a big-hitting all-rounder.
He hit nine sixes in an innings of 77no in his test debut
against England in 2008 but has since failed to replicate
those heights - until today.
After coming to the crease with the Knights on 161-6, Southee
quickly showed his attacking intent as he went about rescuing
his side's innings.
He raced to 50 from 46 balls and the milestone did nothing to
slow him, with 21 taken from one Scott Kuggeleijn over. After
charging past his previous best score, Southee showed no
signs of nerves in the 90s and brought up his maiden ton from
just 88 balls.
He and Daryl Mitchell put on 166 for the seventh wicket - a
provincial record against Wellington - before Mitchell was
dismissed for 43. Southee went on unabated after the loss of
his partner, eventually passing 150 to drive up his first
class average of 16.
The Knights declared shortly after he was dismissed by
Kuggeleijn, as if sensing the sooner Southee returned to the
middle the better.
They were right, with the seamer taking just six balls to
remove Wellington opener Josh Brodie. Southee struck again in
his third over, before dismissing Michael Papps and Ryder in
his fifth to complete a memorable day.
Elsewhere, Canterbury's English import Gareth Andrew gave
Southee a run for his money in the player-of-the-day stakes
at Eden Park's outer oval. After beginning day two on 126no,
the No 8 batsman carried on to post his own highest score of
180no before Canterbury declared on 405-9.
The Wizards also chose to give the ball to the hot hand and
Andrew rewarded that decision by taking three balls to remove
Lou Vincent for a golden duck.
He soon sent Reece Young back to pavilion and, with some
assistance from his fellow bowlers, Auckland were in trouble
on 58-5. But half centuries from Englishman Phil Mustard
(55), Gareth Hopkins (96no) and Kyle Mills (61no) pushed the
Aces to 264-7 at stumps.
The day's other match, between Otago and Central Districts in
Dunedin, was shortened by rain, with the hosts reaching 181-4
in their first innings.