Firebirds pushing for victory on fourth day

Above: Umpire Jones looks on intently as Wellington all-rounder Harry Boam faces Auckland bowler Kyle Mills in the morning session on day three at the Hawkins Basin Reserve. Boam made 32, carrying the Firebirds to an 80-run first innings lead.

The Wellington Firebirds enter the fourth and final day of their Plunket Shield match at the Hawkins Basin Reserve trailing the Auckland Aces by 153 runs after a hard-fought third day’s play that saw them earn an 80-run first innings lead and the visitors dig in at the crease in their second innings.

Like on day two, the Firebirds will be hoping for quick wickets early on day four, while the Aces will be trying to push on past their overnight score of 233 for 5.

When play resumes, Auckland’s Gareth Hopkins will resume on 92 and  new batsman Dusan Hakaraia on nought.

Resuming on day three, the Firebirds added a further 58 runs before being dismissed in their first innings for 426.

Luke Ronchi carried his score to 135 before being caught on the boundary and Harry Boam made a patient 32.

The Firebirds then had five overs at the Aces before the lunch interval and found immediate success when Mark Gillespie clean bowled Martin Guptill-Bunce for a royal duck off the first ball of the innings.

Two overs later Gillespie had Anaru Kitchen LBW and the Aces went to lunch on 13 for 2.

Post lunch, Gillespie had his third wicket when he had former Firebird Craig Cachopa caught at the wicket to leave Auckland at 37 for 3.

Opener Michael Barry and Hopkins resurrected their innings, taking the score through to 154 before Barry was run out. Hopkins and Colin de Grandhomme combined before Gillespie trapped de Grandhomme LBW just prior to stumps.

Gillespie ended the day with second innings figures of 4 for 51 off 19 overs. Together with his 5 for 66 in the first innings, he so far has match figures of 9 for 117. Gillespie has previously taken one 10-wicket bag in first-class cricket.

Play resumes at 10.30am on Sunday morning.

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