Two nail-biting final-day finishes might just have made up for one washout in the second round of the Plunket Shield. HEYMDIS (Here’s everything you missed doing important stuff):
Conway to go
There was a touch of the pristine about the 334th ball that Devon Conway faced at Basin Reserve. There was a short step forward, his trigger movement, and then a simple little punch with a very straight bat. The ball sped away down the ground and so did he. By the time he stopped, the crowd was on its feet and he was saluting them, hands and helmet aloft, a triple-centurion. “It was very special, a goosebump moment for me,” he told stuff.co.nz.
UP FOR DEVON CONWAY!
He becomes just the second player to reach a triple-century for Wellington.
— Wellington Firebirds (@wgtnfirebirds) October 29, 2019
Later, he would move past the legendary Bert Sutcliffe to claim the record for most runs scored in a first-class game in New Zealand.
Conway goes for 66.
Most runs in a first class match in NZ:
393 – Devon Conway (327*, 66)
385 – Bert Sutcliffe (385)
380 – Greg Chappell (247*, 133)
370 – Roger Blunt (32, 338*)#cricketnation #WEAREWELLINGTONhttps://t.co/Jm8p33P1Ig
— Wellington Firebirds (@wgtnfirebirds) October 31, 2019
So, naturally, there was a bit of buzz around the guy. “He’s got a huge future, I think,” Ross Taylor told the media on Wednesday. “The leading domestic player last year. I hadn’t seen him bat until we had a few warm-up games a couple of weeks ago. He looks like a very compact and exciting player. Anyone to get a triple century, regardless of where it is, especially on a green-seamer at the Basin, it all bodes well.”
So can the Black Caps rest easy knowing they have a ready-made replacement for Rosco in the wings? The question had to be asked and Taylor stuck his tongue in his cheek to answer, “Hopefully he’s got a few years to wait then.”
Ground control to Major Tom
Romance is in the air for Tom Latham.
In September, there was this.
And in October, there was this.
How much does Tom Latham love the @BasinReserve? 100 up for the @CanterburyCrick opener! Fighting hard for his side against the @wgtnfirebirds. LIVE video scoring | https://t.co/AnLmvgvBGH #PlunketShield pic.twitter.com/0Xtxei0wW1
— BLACKCAPS (@BLACKCAPS) October 30, 2019
His 18th first-class century came at the ground where he struck an unbeaten 264 against Sri Lanka and followed it up with a 177 against Bangladesh. That’s 665 runs from his last three knocks at the Basin. He’s certain to face the England Test team with a spring in his step now. And to think this game began with a top-order collapse – Wellington were 29 for 3 before the Con artist took control.
More joy for bowlers
Legspinner Todd Astle became the first bowler from Canterbury to pick up 300 first-class wickets, and on the opposite side, left-arm spinner Malcolm Nofal (4 for 100) was absolutely vital to Wellington’s victory even as it seemed the game might go the other way.
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Canterbury did not give up, even when they were 232 for 8 chasing 358 with Mark Henry (43 off 40), Will Williams (36 off 90) and Andrew Hazeldine (36 off 50) dragging the total up above 300. But a tantalising 45 runs away from their target, last man Ed Nuttall fell and the game was done.
— Malcolm Nofal (@MalcolmNofal) November 1, 2019
Left-arm for the win (almost)
Northern Districts had fallen way behind in their first innings – 169 runs was a massive deficit – but they did have just the right bowlers to play catch up.
In Trent Boult, they had the perfect new-ball weapon and he took out four of the top five Central Districts batsmen, including first-innings centurion George Worker for only 4. And in Neil Wagner, they had the perfect old-ball weapon and he picked up a five-wicket haul to potentially set up a Halloween miracle.
And it was well on the cards too, with Bharat Popli leading the chase. The No. 3 batsman made 87 off 202 balls, taking the score to 259 for 4, only 115 runs away from victory and 41 overs left to get them. But Central Districts are the reigning domestic champions for a reason. They took out the main threat and then scared up a collapse. Northern Districts gave up their last six wickets for a mere 40 runs with part-timer Brad Schmulian picking up 4 for 34 in 16.3 overs. He only ever had four first-class wickets before this game.
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