A fine century to Stephen Murdoch has kept alive the Wellington Firebirds’ quest for maximum Plunket Shield points against Canterbury heading into the last day on Monday at the Hawkins Basin Reserve.
A full day was possible at the Basin as Murdoch scored 101 not out off just 126 balls in Wellington’s first innings of 188 for 1 declared.
But having lost the entire second day as well as Sunday’s first session because of rain, the Firebirds are running out of time to force a result after Canterbury were dismissed for 337 in their first innings.
Handed a first innings lead of 149, Canterbury extended their advantage by only two runs for no cost before bad light forced an early finish.
Earlier, after resuming on 283 for 5 Canterbury added another 54 runs as young batsman Henry Nicholls progressed from his overnight 56 to 82, his second successive first-class half-century.
Nicholls’ resistance ended when he was the ninth man out, bowled by hard working seamer Mark Gillespie, who ended with the figures of 3 for 87 off 35 overs.
Also of value for Wellington was off-spinner Jeetan Patel, who took 3 for 70 off 23.5 overs.
Wellington suffered an early setback when opener Josh Brodie, who has been prolific in recent matches, was trapped leg before wicket for 10 by Ryan McCone, but Murdoch, who struck eight fours and four sixes in a robust display, and Michael Papps made excellent progress to share an unbroken second wicket partnership of 163 runs.
Murdoch was particularly aggressive in compiling his fourth first-class century while Papps’ contribution was important also as he contributed an unbeaten 72.
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