Franklin trumps Aces

Runs gushed from the State Wellington Firebirds’ bats today with James Franklin and Luke Woodcock joining skipper Matthew Bell as centurymakers in against the State Auckland Auckland Aces.

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Wellington, on 247 for four overnight, amassed 533 for five before Bell declared their first innings of the State Championship match closed.

At stumps, Auckland were 133 without loss, needing another 401 on the final day tomorrow to pinch first innings points.

On a perfect batting deck, 419 runs were scored today for the loss of just one wicket – that of Franklin, but only after completing an imposing double century.

Resuming on 51 not out, Franklin stroked the ball all round Eden Park's Outer Oval, his 374-minute stay realising 219 runs off 290 balls, the highest score by a Wellington batsman against Auckland.

He smashed 28 boundaries and cleared the rope eight times as he raised his second first-class double hundred, eclipsing the 208, also against Auckland, in the 2005-06 season.

Franklin, on the comeback trail after undergoing knee surgery 12 months ago, took four wickets and scored 69 runs when Wellington beat Canterbury outright last week.

Taking his cue from Bell who notched his second century of the season with 122 yesterday, Woodcock also reached three figures to be 102 not out when Wellington declared.

Woodcock's third first-class hundred contained 10 fours and three sixes.

The partnership between Franklin and Woodcock netted 282 runs for the fifth wicket until a tiring Franklin lifted a Daryl Tuffey delivery into the hands of Colin de Grandhomme.

Tuffey was the best of the Auckland bowlers, taking two for 87, while international Kyle Mills went unrewarded after 32 accurate overs which contained 10 maidens while conceding 58 runs.

Spinner Tarun Nethula took the most punishment, giving up 146 runs off 25 overs, with just Bell's wicket for consolation.

Both Auckland's openers made half centuries in reply, with Tim McIntosh on 70 and Richard Jones 62.


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