A century stand by Colin de Grandhomme and Rob Nicol helped State Auckland Aces to a healthy position against State champions Central Stags’ at Napier’s McLean Park.
Auckland took first innings points after posting 330, setting up a lead of 149 over their hosts.
Nicol resumed on 36 not out and moved on to 134, his sixth first-class century.
De Grandhomme made 87 before his dismissal earlier in the day, having put on 138 for the fourth wicket.
Greg Hegglun (four for 52) and Brent Hefford (3/88) were the leading wicket takers.
Stags skipper Jamie How made 72 as the home team began their second innings. At stumps, Central were 114 for four, still 35 runs adrift of safety.
BLACKCAPS Chris Martin, with two for 20, and Andre Adams, added to their first innings wicket hauls.