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O’Donnell shines as Aces set middling total

Honours are even after day one of the Aces v Firebirds Plunket Shield fixture at Eden Park Outer Oval with the home side posting 304 in their first innings.

In the early exchanges bat most definitely dominated ball with the Aces top order looking comfortable in familiar and favourable batting conditions.

After being inserted by the Firebirds, Aces Skipper Michael Guptill-Bunce (91) wasted no time in getting his side off to a positive start.

Guptill-Bunce played with freedom in the opening session carting the ball to all parts of the Outer Oval in his typically dismissive style with the blade.

Fellow opener Sean Solia (72) proved the perfect foil for his Captain, anchoring the innings at the other end while still dispatching the bad ball to the fence.

After a dominant opening couple of hours, the Aces went to the lunch at 133/0.

Unfortunately, after the break Guptill-Bunce couldn’t add to his total, falling for 91.

However, Solia and Robbie O’Donnell continued the good work manipulating the Wellington attack.

After cruising past 50, Solia was eventually undone by Jeetan Patel, chipping one back to the off-spinner for 72, his highest First-Class score.

Solia’s departure brought Martin Guptill to the crease and he along with O’Donnell saw the Aces through to the tea break on 214/2.

Robbie O’Donnell reached his half century after the tea break, his patient innings flourishing after the interval as he scored freely all around the clock.

O’Donnell looked in complete control against both pace and spin finding the fence at regular intervals while rotating the strike well.

Unfortunately, the Aces hit a stumbling block in the final two hours of play losing a heap of quick wickets to the second new ball.

Logan van Beek picked up a five-wicket bag as he ripped through the Aces middle and lower order in an inspired spell late in the day.

O’Donnell watched the carnage happen around him and was unlucky to be stranded on 93* as the Aces were bowled out with an over remaining in the day for 304.

For a full scorecard from day one Auckland Aces v Wellington Firebirds, click here.

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