Colin Munro scored a century in each innings of a first-class match, posting his second innings of three figures at Auckland's Colin Maiden Park in trademark style with a six. He is only the seventh Auckland batsman to achieve the feat in the Association's long first-class history, and the first to do it away from Eden Park, joining the list that comprises:
|127* & 101*||CCR Dacre||v Victoria||Eden Park, Auckland||1924/25|
|115 & 155||PE Whitelaw||v Wellington||Eden Park, Auckland||1934/35|
|141 & 135||B Sutcliffe||v Canterbury||Eden Park, Auckland||1948/49|
|104 & 101||SG Gedye||v Central Districts||Eden Park, Auckland||1963/64|
|118 & 209*||MJ Horne||v Northern Districts||Eden Park Outer Oval, Auckland||2003/04|
|143 & 120||RA Jones||v Central Districts||Eden Park Outer Oval, Auckland||2006/07|
Munro blasted 142 from 103 balls in all (15 boundaries, five sixes), his century having flown off just 60 balls.
The carnage only stopped when he was caught by Jesse Ryder off golden arm Tom Bruce who had just come into the attack in the middle session of the final day. The Aces were leading by 378 with five wickets in hand at Munro's departure, and would declare for the second time in the match at 260 for six, leaving the Stags a chase of 390 at a run-a-ball ask with a session and a half to play.
At tea on the last afternoon the Stags were 65 without loss needing a further 325 off 41 overs at 7.93 RPO, and while Ben Smith would reach a half century after the break, the match was destined for an early finish with the captains shaking hands.
The Aces declared on their overnight total of 385 for five, ushering in Raja Sandhu on Plunket Shield debut to help Donovan Grobbelaar open the attack. Sandhu didn't have to wait long for his maiden first-class wicket, bowling Stags opener Ben Smith on four.
With Stags captain Will Young falling scoreless to Grobbelaar in the following over, the Aces had just the start they had wanted.
George Worker was the next to depart, a class maiden wicket for Aniket Parikh who, like Sandhu went on to claim a brace in his first day of action in first-class cricket.
When Jesse Ryder departed straight after lunch, the Stags were seemingly on the back foot at 66 for five, but a classy restoration job from Tom Bruce and Dane Cleaver quickly had the visitors feeling more positive.
Bruce had scored a century in the last round before Christmas and shared a near-century stand with Cleaver as he charged towards his fourth first-class century to make it two in two matches.
Cleaver was busy finding the boundary himself but was unlucky to be given on 33 — becoming Sandhu's second victim. Navin Patel didn't last long in his wake but Ajaz Patel put together a 50-stand as Bruce raised his bat.
Looking to make a game of it, the Stags declared behind at 237 for four.
After losing the first day to misfortune, Colin Munro helped his Auckland Aces make up for lost time as the key four-dayer against the Central Stags got underway on day two.
No stranger to ballistic centuries in red-ball cricket, Munro smoked 146 from 109 balls against a Stags attack missing some of their front-line bowlers to injury.
Munro tucked into the spin and made Ajaz Patel’s day less than enjoyable as he totted up seven sixes alongside 16 boundaries, helping the Aces reach 385 for five by stumps at a sweltering Colin Maiden Park.
Munro had solid support from Rob Nicol (86 from 165 balls) and Robbie O'Donnell (71 from 170), adding 200 for the fourth wicket with his skipper.
Patel would have been excused a jig when he finally dismissed the powerhouse in the final hour, Sean Solia and debutant Ben Horne — one of three new first-class Aces in the side, alongside NZ Under-19s off-spinner Aniket Parikh and seamer Raja Sandhu — just getting going at the day’s close.
Eager to make up ground in the remaining five matches of the first-class season, the Central Stags ended up staring at the ground, along with everyone else, on day one of the scheduled Plunket Shield round six clash with the Aces at Auckland's easternmost ground.
A sudden thunderstorm on the previous day at Colin Maiden Park had written off the Stags' training and, whilst the pitch was covered, there were holes in the local ground's covers that allowed enough moisture from the torrent to leave a large wet area at one end of the pitch.
So while it was an otherwise perfect Saturday for cricket — warm, sunny and humid, officials and players had no option but to wait for the pitch to dry out to start the game. Despite the use of drying equipment, by mid-afternoon it was apparent that the deck was still not suitable for play, and the umpires abandoned play for the day.
Players will return tomorrow at the earlier start time of 10am, with the match now a three-dayer. No toss has yet been made.