Cricket: Time lost, pitch point to draw

The late demise of opener Jeet Raval has renewed hope in the Otago camp it can force a result in its Plunket Shield match against Central Districts at the University Oval.

But the home side had some of the wind knocked out of its sails with the visiting side putting on 107 for the first wicket and getting through to stumps on day two at 115 for one.

Otago resumed on 181 for four and, on a great batting track, reached 427. Dutch import Ryan ten Doeschate reached his 19th century in his 100th first-class game and Mark Craig (63) and Neil Wagner (68) put on 119 for the eighth wicket in a damaging partnership.

But with 50 overs lost to poor weather on the opening day, Central Districts coach Alan Hunt said there was not a lot of time left in the game for his side to get back into a position where it felt it could press for a win. It leads the competition by 18 points and is not about to help Otago by declaring behind.

''Time lost is an issue,'' Hunt said.

''From our point of view we just really have to bat well and see what happens.

''The reality is the pitch is pretty flat and I think it would be difficult for Otago to set a target if they got that opportunity. Equally, it would be difficult for them to bowl us out as well. That makes it quite a challenging situation.''

Otago resumed with ten Doeschate unbeaten on 88 and captain Sam Wells on seven.

Wells made a fine start, dispatching some crisp drives but ten Doeschate struggled to find the same fluency he enjoyed on Monday. He crept closer to a century and on 99 pushed a delivery straight to mid-off and set off for a quick single.

He was forced into a desperate dive to make his ground as the throw missed.

While he avoided being run out on 99, he was eventually dismissed by that mode for 118.

Iain Roberston, also playing in his maiden first-class game for Otago, joined Wells and played a bold shot or two in a cameo of 17.

Wells looked on track for what would have been his third first-class 100 but chopped the ball on to his stumps on 63.

At 300 for seven, it felt as though Otago had not made the most of a cracking surface. But a fabulous partnership between Craig and Wagner helped Otago regain the momentum.

The pair broke the Otago record eighth-wicket partnership against Central Districts of 102 set by Warren McSkimming and Bradley Scott in New Plymouth in 2005-06.

Craig raised his 71-ball 50 with a scorching cut shot from the bowling of Roald Badenhorst.

Not to be outdone, Wagner raised his own 50 with a pull shot which sailed over the fence and rolled down the road towards the tennis centre. His 50 came off 61 balls and featured three sixes and four fours.

The pair helped Otago secure maximum batting bonus points while also denying Central a fourth bowling bonus point.

Left-arm spinner Ajaz Patel took four for 86 from 28.3 overs but Peter Trego was arguably the pick of the bowlers with two for 56 from 25 overs. He plugged away with tight line and impeccable length.

Central found batting just as easy, although Jamie How was lucky to survive when he was dropped on 17.

He got a nice, clean edge which flew through to first slip Aaron Redmond at waist height. Redmond does not drop many but he shelved a simple chance which the bowler, Ian Butler, had trouble putting behind him.

How offered another sharp chance on 46 off the bowling of Craig but, with the keeper up at the stumps, Redmond was unsighted.

Raval played a watchful innings and was in sight of 50. But a poorly executed cut shot ended in the wicketkeeper's gloves.

Wagner got the breakthrough but the partnership has helped set up a big total today.