Skippers show the way in Napier

Leadership has been to the fore in the State Championship match at Napier with both captains making centuries to show the way ahead for their teams.

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The fixture between the State Central Stags and the State Otago at Volts McLean Park reached the midway point today, with first innings points hanging in the balance.

Otago's first innings of 357 was underpinned by 133 from skipper Craig Cumming and the home side's response today was built around the efforts of their own leader Mathew Sinclair.

Sinclair scored 108 as the Stags went to stumps at 316 for seven, with Ewen Thompson unbeaten on 19 and Richard Sherlock on 15 not out.

Central had made a solid start in pursuit of their target after Peter Ingram scored 51 and his opening partner George Worker 21.

Brad Patton chipped in with 32 but then things started going awry, firstly when Tim Weston retired hurt on two after being struck in the helmet by a short delivery.

International Jacob Oram replaced him and made 28 before offering a catch to Cumming at mid on, then Bevan Griggs went to the very next delivery from offspinner Nathan McCullum when he edged behind for a first ball duck.

From 140 for two Central suddenly found themselves 193 for five with one specialist batsman back in the hut nursing an injury.

But up stepped Sinclair to take the fight to the visitors, showing patience and judicious shot selection to post his second first-class century of this season and the 25th of his career.

He found a willing ally in young Doug Bracewell, who helped his captain put on 79 for the sixth wicket.

Bracewell's share was 26, which ended only when he chopped a ball from Ian Butler on to his stumps.

Sinclair's knock ended to a loose shot when he tried to hook a short ball from Mathew Harvie only to get an ugly top edge which was accepted by wicketkeeper Derek de Boorder.

He was at the crease for 256 minutes, faced 188 balls and hit 14 fours and one six.

He was one of three wickets captured by Harvie, Otago's best bowler with figures of three for 47 off 19 overs.

NZPA

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