A poor first innings batting display by defending champions State Canterbury Wizards left State Auckland Aces in the box seat at the end of the second day of their State Championship cricket match in Rangiora.
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The Aces, who compiled an imposing first innings of 398, bowled the Wizards out for a paltry 169 just before tea.
Auckland captain Richard Jones opted not to enforce the follow on, and although Canterbury managed an early breakthrough with the removal of Tim McIntosh for nine in the fourth over, by the end of the day the Aces had amassed a healthy 372-run lead at 143 for five in their second innings.
Jones was dismissed for 22 by the same combination of Michael Davidson's left arm swing and the safe hands of Johann Myburgh that dislodged him for 28 in the first innings.
BLACKCAPS allrounder Scott Styris and Reece Young kept the score ticking over at more than four runs an over before Todd Astle trapped Styris leg before on 28 from 35 balls with the score on 100.
Young added a second innings 40 to his first-innings century, another caught by Myburgh, this time off the bowling of seamer Brandon Hiini with the total at 109.
Gareth Hopkins fell nine overs with the total on 131, leaving Colin de Grandhomme (19) and Steven Croft (nine) to bat through to stumps.
Resuming this morning on 356 for six, the Aces lost their last four wickets for the addition of 42 runs.
Honours were evenly shared in the wicket-taking stakes, with left arm seamer Michael Davidson's 3-68 receiving excellent support from paceman Hamish Bennett (3-71) and medium pacer Brandon Hiini (3-101).
Canterbury never really recovered from the early losses of openers Todd Astle, without scoring, and Michael Papps, who nicked an Azhar Abbas outswinger into the safe gloves of wicketkeeper Hopkins.
Resuming after lunch at 44 for two, Canterbury struggled to handle some intelligent bowling from Andy McKay, who was on a hat-trick after he trapped Peter Fulton leg before wicket on 27 then had Shanan Stewart caught by McIntosh at third slip.
Although McKay missed the hat-trick, he still finished with a career-best of four for 37 off 12 overs as Canterbury lost wickets regularly, with only attacking innings from Corey Anderson (45) and Kruger van Wyk (44) offering any resistance.