Franklin stakes claim for BLACKCAPS

James Franklin has signed, sealed and delivered a compelling case for a recall to the BLACKCAPS.

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A year after undergoing major knee surgery the State Wellington Firebirds allrounder continues to stack up the runs at State Championship level.

Today, he ticked off his second successive century, scoring 160 as Wellington reached an imposing 520 for seven declared in response to State Northern Knights’ first innings of 310 by stumps on the third day of the four-day fixture at the Basin Reserve.

It marked the second time in as many innings that the Firebirds have topped 500 and his own weighty contribution lifted Franklin's aggregate from three innings this summer to 448 runs at an average of 149.

At a time when the BLACKCAPS’ batting is causing the selectors sleepless nights ahead of the test series starting next week against the West Indies, Franklin can hardly do more to command their attention.

His left-arm medium-fast bowling has been steady and his middle order batting outstanding in three matches to date, underlined today as he manoeuvred Wellington well beyond Northern after they had resumed on 219 for four.

The first order of business this morning was to help rookie opener Josh Brodie to his maiden first-class century.

That was duly completed, with 21-year-old Brodie quickly getting the single he required after ending yesterday's play on 99.

But Brodie went soon after, for 110, before Franklin linked arms with Luke Woodcock in a partnership of 121 for the sixth wicket.

Woodcock stayed with his more illustrious partner for the best part of three hours and contributed 53 before being undone by left-armer spinner Bruce Martin.

Franklin then found another able helper in wicketkeeper Chris Nevin, who belted an unbeaten 71 off 85 balls to help him put on 164 for the seventh wicket at a fast clip.

Along the way Franklin raised his fifth first-class century in the final session when he pulled a ball from Graeme Aldridge to the backward square leg fence.

It took him 203 deliveries to raise three figures and thereafter he accelerated, hitting his next 60 runs off just 45 balls.

By the time he holed out Franklin had hit 11 fours and four sixes after 340 minutes at the crease.

His dismissal heralded the declaration, with the Knights openers scoring three runs in two overs before bad light forced them from the field.

NZPA

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