Ellis puts Volts on back foot

An unbeaten seventh first-class century from Andrew Ellis has put Canterbury in the box seat after day one of its Plunket Shield clash against host Otago.

Ellis was unrelenting against the Volts' bowlers at Queens Park in Invercargill, hammering 184 off just 151 balls to guide Canterbury to a hefty 405 for five after 91 overs were bowled on day one.

Ellis came to the crease in the 41st over and smashed 142 runs in boundaries (25 fours and seven sixes) to help him to his highest ever first-class score since making his debut in the 2002-03 season.

A first-day score of more than 400 looked to be some distance away after the first ball of the 20th over though, when Volts opening bowler Michael Rae sliced through Peter Fulton's tentative prod to send the Canterbury veteran back for a duck and leave Canterbury battling at 40 for two.

Rae had struck with the last ball of his previous over when he got Chad Bowes to gently chip a ball to Michael Bracewell.

Canterbury recovered through Michael Davidson (38) and Ken McClure (38), but Davidson departed with Canterbury at 75 and Rae reduced Canterbury to 108 for four when he claimed McClure lbw.

Ellis joined Cole McConchie, and the pair put the Otago bowlers to the sword, piling on a 258-run partnership in 44 overs, bettering Canterbury's previous fifth wicket partnership record of 236 against Otago, set by Chris Harris and Nathan Astle in the 1996-97 season.

McConchie played the accumulating role, bringing up his 100 off 158 balls, stroking 15 fours and one six. He became Rae's fourth wicket on 103, leaving Cam Fletcher (seven not out) to bat through to stumps with Ellis.

Other than Rae's four for 86 off 23 overs, there was little to smile about for the Otago bowlers. Josh Finnie and Neil Broom both bore the brunt of Ellis' late-day attack.

In Mt Maunganui, Dean Brownlie gave Northern Districts the early advantage over Auckland, compiling an unbeaten 143 at the top of the order to guide the home side to 324 for five. Corey Anderson also struck form, collecting 103 off 131 balls.

The start of the match between the Wellington Firebirds and the Central Stags at the Basin Reserve was postponed to allow engineers to check the ground for damage.

Play will start this morning and the four-day match will now be completed on Friday, if all four days are needed.

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