Rutherford, Raval score centuries
After an opening day where bowlers had profited at Bay Oval, Hamish Rutherford struck back on behalf of batsmen everywhere, scoring the first century of the Plunket Shield season – a feat matched by Jeet Raval later in the day.
Rutherford’s 115 runs were seven more than his Otago team managed in their first innings against Northern Districts, and 54 more than anyone else had managed across two days in Mt Maunganui.
They were compiled against an attack that featured four Black Caps – Trent Boult, Neil Wagner, Colin de Grandhomme and Ish Sodhi – and helped Otago set ND 204 to win.
Rain arrived late in the afternoon and brought an early end to proceedings, at which point the hosts were 52-1, having made a solid start to their quest.
Daniel Flynn fell early, caught by Mark Craig in the slips off the bowling of Jacob Duffy for 4, but fellow opener Henry Cooper and Black Caps captain Kane Williamson got stuck into their work.
Cooper was on 14 off 37 balls, while Williamson was on 28 off 55, when the rain came.
Earlier, Otago had resumed at 88-1, but lost Shawn Hicks for 47 two balls into the day.
Rutherford had little in the way of company until Christi Viljoen added 33 at No 9.
The pair put on a valuable 59 for the eighth wicket, with Otago in trouble at 148-7, having lost six wickets for the addition of just 50 runs.
Neil Wagner was the pick of the ND bowlers, in his debut for the association, finishing with 4-75.
Rain delayed the start of play at the Basin Reserve in Wellington, where the Auckland Aces resumed at 64-2, after the hosts were dismissed for 255 in their first innings.
Play began after an early lunch break, but the Aces only added 23 runs to their overnight score before rain returned.
More action was possible after an early tea break. Nightwatchman Matt McEwan was dismissed for 15, but Jeet Raval and Rob O’Donnell came together for a 107-run stand that appeared to have set the Aces up nicely.
Raval was dismissed for 102, caught by Devon Conway at silly point on his second attempt, but would have been glad to get the time in the middle ahead of the Black Caps’ test series with Pakistan next month.
O’Donnell carried on but fell for 73, caught in the slips off Hamish Bennett in the first over with the new ball – the penultimate over of the day.
Debutant Graeme Beghin and a new nightwatchman, William Somerville, were together at stumps, on 18 and 0 respectively, with Auckland 230-5, 25 runs behind. Persistent rain yesterday meant there was no play at Saxton Oval in Nelson, where the Central Stag were 301-7 overnight, having been sent in by Canterbury.
There was set to be more rain overnight, though it is expected to clear this afternoon.