11th Match: Northern Districts v Auckland at Hamilton, 28-31 Dec 2001
Peter Hoare
CricInfo.com

Auckland 1st innings: lunch, drinks, tea, rain, stumps,
Pre-game: Preview,


ND IN CONTROL

A final session of 45 minutes between rain and bad light gave Northern Districts firm control of the match, with the fall of three Auckland wickets. At the close of the first day Auckland are 110/7, with Nicol (five) and Canning (nought) the not-out batsmen.

13 further overs having been lost in the first rain break. The determination of the groundstaff to keep the field playable should again be acknowledged.

The break refreshed the ND attack, with Tuffey and Yovich producing their best spells of the day in the short last session.

Soon after the resumption Howell was hurried by a short delivery from Butler, the ball falling safely. Butler has been the best and unluckiest of the bowlers, figures of 0/30 being scant reward for sustained hostility.

It was Yovich who claimed Howell, moving one away to provide Robbie Hart with his third catch of the innings.

With no addition to the score Tuffey dismissed Mills with the first ball of his new spell, Bradburn taking a sharp catch to his left at first slip.

A third thin edge in succession gave Robbie Hart another catch to dismiss his opposing skipper, Walker for a duck. It was a fourth wicket for Yovich (16-5-38-4)

The visitors gratefully accepted the offer of bad light without further addition to the score. The option of switching on Westpac Trust's new floodlights was not taken, but the rain followed within a few minutes anyway.

The story of the day has been that the bowling has been much better than the batting. The pitch has been trustworthy, but has rewarded bowlers capable of combining pace and accuracy. At least in Tama Canning and Andre Adams they have the best Nos. 9 and 10 in domestic cricket.

They will need to state a strong case for promotion back up the order tomorrow if Auckland are to have any chance of taking first-innings points.



RAIN DELAY AFTER HORSLEY IS OUT

The rain that had threatened all day finally arrived half an hour after tea. It lasted for no more than ten minutes but was heavy enough to leave pools on the flat covers once more. It also gave the hard-working groundstaff yet another drenching.

Auckland are 95/4 after 37 overs, with Howell (seven) and Mills (two) the not out batsmen.

Horsley's innings ended in characteristically aggressive fashion soon after tea. A steepling top edge from an attempted hook off Yovich was caught by Robbie Hart. Horsley scored 60 from 101 balls, hitting eight fours and a six. Llorne Howell contributed five to the fourth-wicket partnership of 52.

Some of the ND players believed that they had dismissed Kyle Mills before he had scored. Styris took the ball well at third slip, but the ball had clearly gone off the bat into the ground.

Butler returned from the Members' End after tea, again bowling with hostility and accuracy, but without reward.

Play will resume at 6pm with 19 overs to be bowled before the close.

There is no immediate threat of more rain.



HORSLEY HITS OUT AS WICKETS FALL

At tea on the first day Auckland are 88/3, having won the toss and chosen to bat. Nick Horsley is 60 not out, Llorne Howell five not out. Styris and Butler have been the stand-out bowlers in the Northern Districts attack, with a defiant half century from Horsley holding Auckland together.

Scott Styris replaced Yovich from the City End. Styris is ND's most successful bowler this season with 11 wickets at a cost of ten each before this match.

He almost struck in the over after drinks, having McIntosh dropped at second slip by Mark Bailey. The fielder got both hands to a ball that reached him at knee height, but could not hold on.

It was not an expensive miss. McIntosh had added only one more when he was caught behind off Styris for 15 with the score on 37.

Styris' first delivery to Aaron Barnes got unexpected lift, going from the shoulder of the bat to be caught by James Marshall above his head at third slip.

37/3 on a hat-trick delivery was not the situation that Llorne Howell would have chosen for his first innings of the season. He defended the hat-trick ball successfully but found scoring difficult.

Howell should have been run out for five in the thirty-first over. He had given up an attempt to get back to the non-sriker's end, but the throw from Butler at mid-on missed.

Styris is bowling at the peak of form and confidence. His bowling was zippy if not quick and he exploited what little assistance the pitch offered. Styris' figures for his first spell were 7-1-22-1, 11 of those runs coming in the last of those overs.

Ian Butler continued to impress from the Members' End. He struck Horsley on the helmet in the twenty-second over. Horsley struck back by cutting the next ball for four, but was hurried again later in the over.

Horsley weathered difficulties against Styris and Butler, having the strength of temperament to fight back, attacking whenever possible. He reached his fifty from 92 balls and hit eight fours. He celebrated with a hooked six off Yovich to the longest boundary on the ground.

There is rain in the area, but has missed Westpac Trust Park so far. 38 overs remain to be bowled today.



QUIET START AFTER YOUNG GOES EARLY

Auckland are 32/1 at the first drinks interval after play started three-and-a-half hours late on the first day of this State Championship contest. The not-out batsmen are McIntosh (14) and Horsley (13).

With Matt Horne on Test duty, Reece Young was promoted from No. 9 in the order to open the innings. The experiment was not a success, with Young first out, bowled by Yovich for one. Young failed to pick up the line of a ball that went through a sizeable gap between bat and pad.

Yovich was the more threatening of the opening bowlers early on, though the batsmen were able to leave plenty alone outside the off stump at both ends. At the Members' End Darryl Tuffey struggled for rhythm and direction. He was replaced by Ian Butler after a six-over spell.

Butler was lucky to escape injury in his first over when his left foot slipped in the delivery stride. The young pace bowler is a positive character who was not deterred from bowling quickly and accurately from the outset.

It was easy to see how Butler took nine wickets at under 20 in his first two ND appearances this season.

The scoring rate was a sedate two an over for the first hour. The tall left-hander Tim McIntosh hit two boundaries, an off drive off Yovich and a pull off Tuffey.

Horsley's first four also came from an off drive off Yovich, his second an edge off Butler.

Hamilton's recent deluge has not affected the quality of the pitch, which has reasonable pace, bounce and carry without much to worry the batsmen in terms of movement.

Clouds still lurk, but are remaining a respectful distance from Westpac Trust Park for the time being.



AUCKLAND WIN TOSS, WILL BAT

Play in the State Championship match between Northern Districts and Auckland will begin at 2.00pm, with a minimum of 70 overs to be bowled before the delayed close. More of the lost time will be made up on other days.

Auckland have won the toss and will bat.

As expected, Bruce Martin’s rib injury keeps him out of the ND team. Gavin Robinson makes his first-class debut. Ian Butler replaces Graeme Aldridge in the pace attack.

For Auckland, Dunu Eliaba is omitted, with Howell and Haslam coming in for Horne and Nash.

Heroic work from the groundstaff and bright sunshine have allowed a start to made much earlier than looked possible at ten o’clock this morning.

Hot air blowers have dried out a couple of damp patches at one end of the pitch, which had only the faintest green tinge once cut. There is no reason to think that it will be anything other than a typically sound Hamilton strip.

Parts of the outfield remain damp, as do the creases of last week’s Test pitch, four strips along from that being used today.

Dark clouds keep threatening, but so far they have scudded past Westpac Trust Park.



START DELAYED IN HAMILTON

Heavy overnight rain has delayed the start of the State Championship match between Northern Districts and Auckland at Westpac Trust Park, Hamilton. An early lunch has already been called for 12.30.

Pools of water have to be removed from the flat covers and parts of the outfield. Dark clouds are in the area and the forecast is for showers. A couple of heavy ones will end any chance of play today.

Auckland come into the match leading the State Championship table with 13 points. ND, third with six points, know that a win for Auckland would open up an uncomfortably wide gap between these teams as the competition breaks for the State Shield.

Test calls, injuries and suspension have depleted Auckland's resources. Matt Horne has joined Parore, Richardson, Vincent and Drum in the Black Caps. Possible replacements Richard Pudney and Sam Whiteman are injured. Dion Nash begins his suspension for abusing Lee Germon and showing contempt towards umpire Dave Quested in the round three game against Otago.

Batsman Llorne Howell, slow left-armer Mark Haslam and pace bowler Dunu Eliba come into the Auckland squad.

Allrounders Grant Bradburn and Matthew Hart are likely to share spinners' duties for ND as Daniel Vettori is at the Basin Reserve and Bruce Martin is suffering from a rib injury, though the delayed start gives Martin extra recovery time.

Batsman Grant Robinson comes into the squad having made a rapid comeback after suffering horrific facial injuries playing for the Districts XI versus the Bangladeshis earlier this month.

The squads:

Northern Districts

James Marshall, Matthew Hart, Mark Bailey, Scott Styris, Hamish Marshall, Grant Robinson, Grant Bradburn, Joseph Yovich, Robbie Hart (captain/wicketkeeper), Daryl Tuffey, Graeme Aldridge, Ian Butler, Bruce Martin.

Auckland

Tim McIntosh, Llorne Howell, Nick Horsley, Aaron Barnes, Kyle Mills, Rob Nicol, Andre Adams, Tama Canning, Brooke Walker, Reece Young, Mark Haslam, Dunu Eliba.

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Date-stamped : 28 Dec2001 - 10:35