Volts rue lack of application in batting

Otago has been left to lament a below-par batting display as Wellington cruised to an inevitable win.

The Firebirds comfortably knocked off the 98 runs remaining to beat the Volts in an extended first session at the Basin Reserve yesterday.

It left them with a six-wicket win in the Plunket Shield season-opener.

Luke Georgeson led the way for the hosts on the final day.

The young opener compiled a first-class highest score of 74 on what had proved a difficult batting wicket.

By the time he was caught by substitute fielder Josh Finnie, having tried to take to Michael Rippon, the game was well in hand.

Wellington had reached 102 when Travis Muller removed Theo Johnson (28) for the first wicket.

Michael Bracewell was run out for 24 with the target within 50, before Georgeson and Finn Allen fell in the same over — the latter run out to a sharp piece of fielding by Dale Phillips.

It was a tough four days for the batsmen — only three surpassed 30 across all four innings.

Dion Ebrahim. Photo: Getty Images
Dion Ebrahim. Photo: Getty Images
Otago coach Dion Ebrahim did not feel the wicket had been quite as bad as that suggested, however.

‘‘It was green, but it wasn’t as mischievous as your traditional Wellington wicket early on in the season,’’ he said.

‘‘We batted well in patches, but we were 50 runs short in both innings. That’s possibly just due to a lack of application from our batsmen who managed to get set.

‘‘Over four days, the simplicity of it is we didn’t score enough runs in both innings to allow our bowlers to take 20 wickets and win the game.’’

Ebrahim had been pleased with the way the bowling unit had operated, particularly in the absence of Michael Rae, who injured his hamstring in the first innings.

He said the Volts bowlers found their line and length consistently and Travis Muller’s first-innings haul of six wickets for 52 runs had been a highlight.

‘‘Travis, along with all the other bowlers, has worked very hard over the last couple of months in preparation.

‘‘The biggest challenge is getting on grass. Getting on grass affects your lines, your lengths and your consistency in that.

‘‘Travis obviously got the benefits of being consistent, but that was in support of the other three bowlers he worked in tandem with.

‘‘It’s great for Travis — it’ll be a big confidence boost for him.

‘‘But at the same time, it’s one of those things I hope he and the other bowlers are able to back it up moving forward.’’

Otago will play its first home match of the summer beginning on Sunday when it faces Central Districts at the University Oval.

In Christchurch, the game between Canterbury and Central Districts finished in a draw.

Yesterday Central declared its second innings closed at 321 for six, setting a formidable total of 450 for victory.

Canterbury’s biggest contributions came from Tom Latham (104) and Henry Nicholls (44) at the top of the order, but the chase was never on and it finished the final day, affected at times by rain then bad light, at 249 for five.

■Otago A drew its three-day game against Canterbury that finished in Rangiora yesterday.

After scoring 305 batting first, Otago A dismissed the host team for 199 then declared its second innings closed at 167 for four. Chasing 274 to win, Canterbury A had reached 110 for two when the game was called off.

Ben Lockrose took four for 59 in the first innings, and Hunter Kindley smacked a brisk 66 in Otago’s second dig.

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