Bhupinder Singh has spun Auckland to a decisive Plunket Shield win over Otago.
The Aces won the match by an innings and 34 runs thanks to offspinner Singh’s career-best figures at Colin Maiden Park in Auckland.
He took six for 50 off 34 demanding overs as Otago were dismissed for 250 in their second innings after resuming the fourth and final day at 79 for one, still 205 runs short of forcing the hosts to pad up a second time.
Singh ensured his batsmen could keep their feet up by pocketing his first haul of five or more wickets in 13 first-class appearances after fast bowler Mitchell McClenaghan quickly removed nightwatchman Nick Beard.
The heavily bearded spinner then got to work as he tore the heart out of the middle order to force the exits of Darren Broom, Neil Broom and Sam Wells before also removing obstinate opener Craig Cumming.
Cumming was the most difficult to budge, occupying the crease for 266 minutes as he progressed from his overnight 30 to 74 before Singh trapped him leg before wicket.
That aside, there was little resistance from the Volts although Jimmy Neesham did manage 24 at No 8 until he was dismissed by left-arm spinner Bruce Martin then 26-year-old Singh collected his fifth scalp with another leg before wicket decision against Mark Craig and added Neil Wagner to his collection for good measure.
Day 3: Auckland in box seat
Auckland’s dominance has been such that they will still fancy their chances of earning maximum points despite losing the entire third day of the Plunket Shield match against Otago to rain.
No action was possible due to the weather at Colin Maiden Park in Auckland, leaving the Aces to wait until tomorrow as they look to polish off the visitors.
Having succumbed for 63 in their first innings, the Volts are 79 for one in their second innings, still requiring another 205 to force the home team to bat again after the Aces tallied 347 for eight declared on the second day.
Day 2: Hopkins ton leaves Auckland in command
Gareth Hopkins rubbed salt into Otago’s wounds with a fine century as Auckland continued to dominate their Plunket Shield match in Auckland.
The Aces wicketkeeper and captain stroked 109 not out as the home side declared at 347 for eight declared in their first innings on the second day of the match at Colin Maiden Park.
Otago, who were rolled for 63 on the first day, reached 79 for one in their second innings by stumps to trail by 205 runs at the halfway stage of the eighth round fixture.
Hamish Rutherford departed for 39, leaving Craig Cumming, on 30, to take guard tomorrow morning alongside nightwatchman Nick Beard on six.
Auckland began today already firmly in control at 154 for one after left-arm fast bowler Mitchell McClenaghan collected a career-best haul of eight for 23 to totally undermine the visitors.
But Jeet Raval added only three more to his overnight 81 and while Neal Parlane progressed from 39 to 55 it was largely Hopkins who was responsible for extending their first innings advantage to 282 runs.
His 13th first-class century, and his second in successive matches, occupied just 129 balls and 167 minutes as he hit 12 fours and two sixes in a belligerent display.
Neil Wagner was the most successful Otago bowler, the left-arm quick working hard through 32 overs for his three for 72.
Day 1: McClenaghan mauls Volts
Mitchell McClenaghan decimated Otago to enable Auckland to take a vice-like grip on their Plunket Shield match today.
The left-arm fast-medium bowler was close to unplayable as he returned the outstanding figures of eight for 23 to shoot the Volts out for a meagre 63 in their first innings at Colin Maiden Park in Auckland.
The Aces underlined their dominance by responding with 154 for one after opener Jeet Raval carved 11 boundaries in reaching 81 not out.
With him at the close was Neal Parlane on 39 while Brad Cachopa had earlier dominated the first wicket partnership with a fluent 32.
Otago were left to regret their decision to bat first once 25-year-old McClenaghan got to work, scything through the order in a career-best performance that rewarded him with a second haul of five or more wickets in an innings in his 19th first-class appearance.
Only three players reached double figures, and No 10 Nick Beard topscored with 14, as Otago were embarrassed at their inability to cope with McClenaghan, who was worked hard by captain Gareth Hopkins.
McClenaghan got through 17 overs operating virtually non-stop as Otago’s innings lasted all of 38.4 overs.
If there we any terrors in the pitch they had disappeared when Auckland batted.