Bell makes another ton for Firebirds

State Wellington Firebirds opener Matthew Bell made it two centuries from two attempts this State Championship season as he dominated the second day against the State Auckland Aces today.

After the first day was washed out at Eden Park outer oval, Aces captain Richard Jones asked the visitors to bat in the hope of exploiting some moisture.

However, he was met with a brick wall in the form of Bell, who batted 325 minutes for his 122 -- a superb follow-up to his 146 against the State Canterbury Wizards last week.

It helped carry Wellington to 247 for four before rain ended play at 4.30pm, with 78.3 overs completed.

James Franklin was unbeaten on a chanceless 51 while BJ Crook contributed 40.

But Bell was once again the figurehead, reaching the boundary 19 times on his way to his 19th first class ton for the province, extending his record for one New Zealand association.

Bell is matching his prolific start to last summer which resulted in a recall to the BLACKCAPS before being dropped.

He provided two sharp chances today, with Englishman Steven Croft spilling a caught and bowled opportunity on 39 and Reece Young missing a slash at first slip when Bell was on 83.

He eventually fell to the guile of leg spinner Tarun Nethula, caught by Scott Styris at slip.

The Auckland attack was steady, if unspectacular, with BLACKCAPS opening bowler Kyle Mills recording the tight figures of none for 30 off 18 overs.

With half the match completed, it will be difficult for either team to force a result on a true pitch.

NZPA

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