Gillespie, Ronchi lead fightback on day two

Cricket Wellington Media Unit: Opening bowler Mark Gillespie and wicketkeeper batsman Luke Ronchi led the Firebirds fightback on day two of their four-day match against the Auckland Aces at the Hawkins Basin Reserve.

Auckland entered the start of second day’s play well placed to push on at 319 for 5, but the Firebirds climbed into their work in the field and took the last five Aces wickets for 22 runs.

The Aces were dismissed for 346. Fast bowler Mark Gillespie took 5 for 66, including three of the last four wickets.  It was Gillespie’s 16th first-class 5-wicket haul. Aucklander Colin de Grandhomme was left not out on 99.

In reply, Firebirds openers Michael Papps (57) and Josh Brodie (40) started briskly, carrying the score to 50 in 63 balls.

Auckland’s bowlers eventually made inroads into Wellington’s top and middle order, and when Ronchi strode to the crease the Firebirds were 152 for 4.

But Ronchi quickly climbed into his work, playing a terrific hand. Ronchi hit nine boundaries, reached his 50 off 43 balls and entered into a 116-run partnership with Luke Woodcock (37). Woodcock departed, but an injured Jesse Ryder (34) carried on with Ronchi.

Ronchi eventually reached his 100 off 93 balls.

He ended the day unbeaten on 120, with Harry Boam on 18 and the Firebirds on 368 for 6, with a lead of 22.

Day three resumes on Saturday at 10.30am.

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