Cricket: Draw likely after lost time

Central Districts batsman Mathew Sinclair runs through to complete his century during his team's...
Central Districts batsman Mathew Sinclair runs through to complete his century during his team's Plunket Shield match against Otago at the University Oval in Dunedin yesterday. The other batsman is Bevan Small. Photo by Linda Robertson.
What this match needs is the 50 overs back it lost on the opening day due to poor weather.

Otago should be able to bat long enough to ensure its Plunket Shield match against Central Districts at the University Oval ends in a draw when the game concludes today.

The pitch is still playing well and Otago leads by 15 runs with nine wickets in hand.

The home side posted 427 but Central overhauled the total, thanks largely to Mathew Sinclair. The veteran right-hander scored 142 to help his side reach 439.

At stumps, Otago was 37 for one in its second innings and coach Vaughn Johnson could not see a situation where his side could build a challenging lead and still have enough time left to dismiss Central.

''I can't see us setting CD a target but I can still see a result if one of the two sides does not bat well,'' Johnson said.

''If we end up getting bowled out, I guess there is still a chance.

''It would have been nice to being going into the last day with the team batting last chasing something. It would have been a decent day's cricket but it has not turned out that way.

''It is a pretty flat and not a wicket, conducive for getting a whole lot of wickets on. But I thought our guys generally stuck to the task and, on the whole, bowled well.''

Central resumed on 115 for one, with plenty of work ahead to make the game safe.

Otago helped out with some patchy bowling. Neil Wagner seemed obsessed with dropping it in short and giving Carl Cachopa batting advice.

Cachopa got the better on the encounter, whacking 24 runs from the 32 deliveries he faced from Wagner, including a brutish lofted drive over extra cover.

Perhaps Wagner thought he could have executed the shot better because he had a few more suggestions for the batsman while his team-mate chased the ball up the embankment.

When Wagner pitched the ball up he looked far more threatening. Ian Butler was also guilty of engaging in too much gamesmanship.

The sledging was neither productive, nor particularly successful. Cachopa made 55 and Jamie How, who also got plenty of batting tips, made 64.

The captain Sam Wells got the breakthrough when he strangled How down the leg side. It was just further proof there is no justice in cricket, though.

He sent his first three deliveries down leg, two of which were dispatched for boundaries and one was so wide the batsman could not catch up with it. His fourth delivery was not much better either, but How's attempt at a glance only found the keeper's gloves.

How's departure bought Sinclair to the wicket. His innings could have been snuffed out early when he offered two sharp caught and bowled chances to off-spinner Mark Craig, the second of which would have taken a mighty effort.

Central did not have the morning session entirely its own way. Ryan ten Doeschate bowled Cachopa and Butler trapped Will Young lbw for one.

Kruger van Wyk looked unlucky to be given out lbw just before lunch, leaving his side 241 for five at the break.

Sinclair got over his scratchy start and put the bad ball away to move closer to his 36th first-class 100 and eighth against Otago.

He brought up the milestone when he tucked a delivery from Ryan ten Doeschate behind square. He raised both arms in triumph and acknowledged his team-mates' applause with a nod of his bat.

Peter Trego (35) and Roald Badenhorst (27) offered good support and Bevan Small chipped in with 28.

Wagner got some cheap wickets at the end of the innings and finished with four for 103. He bowled well in patches but it was not one of his great performances.

Otago was left with a minimum of 15 overs to face. Aaron Redmond made a bright start, driving Trego through the covers for a brace of boundaries in the opening over.

Even with the late dismissal of Hamish Rutherford for 15, the match still seems destined for a draw. Of course, Otago lost eight wickets in about an hour against the same opposition in Queenstown last season.


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