Otago Country digs deep to hang on for draw

Otago Country was largely outplayed but hung on for a gutsy draw in the Hawke Cup qualifying game against Southland in Invercargill at the weekend.

Country was staring down the barrel at an innings defeat before showing some real ticker in its second dig.

It was 128 behind when it batted again, and the game looked certain to end early when Country lost its first three wickets for four runs.

It was then 25 for four and 41 for five, and you would have got generous odds on a draw before the rescue job began.

Michael Goldstein grafted 107 balls for his 39, but Charanjit Singh chose the opposite approach.

Singh went on the attack, and did so brilliantly.

He whacked 67 off 82 balls, scoring 11 boundaries before being dismissed.

Josh Shackleton (20 not out off 82 balls) then showed nerves of steel as he put up a staunch defence, and Country had reached 165 for nine, a lead of 37, when stumps were called.

Otago Country had been dismissed for 180 in its first innings.

Marcus Frost (35), Sukhdev Singh (34) and Shackleton all got starts but few real partnerships were formed.

In a nice piece of symmetry, all five Southland bowlers grabbed two wickets.

Southland rattled on 308 in its first innings thanks in large part to the middle and lower order.

Opening batter Jack Mockford cracked 62 but the rest of the top order failed, leaving No 7 Ben Lockrose (69) and No 9 Kurt Thompson (74) to make amends.

Swaran Sandhu was the pick of the Country bowlers with four for 47. Sam Blakely took three for 52 and Cam Jackson two for 28.

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