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Aces toil on day three against Northern Districts

It was a day in the dirt for the Auckland Aces as they bowled through the majority of day three against Northern Districts in Whangarei.

Coming out at 106/2, ND was soon three down after Lockie Ferguson dismissed Tim Seifert for 11, but any thoughts of a quick end to the innings was put to bed by a 28-over stand between Joe Carter and Daryl Mitchell. His two overs before lunch were lucrative for Ferguson, as he removed both set batsmen and sent Auckland into the break with renewed vigor.

With prospects of a result waning, Auckland might have expected Northern Districts to go hard in the second session. Instead the Aces were faced with a grindingly slow wicket and an opposition who played to match it.

Will Somerville bowled over after over, picking up plenty of maidens. Scott Kuggelijn was happy to wait, hitting ones off the other end. His partners were more attacking, Mitchell Santner making 39 before Glenn Phillips had him caught on the boundary to pick up his first wicket of the day.

Phillips had his second wicket three balls later, Daniel Flynn gone for a first-ball duck. ND were at 266/7, still 202 behind the Aces first innings score.

By now the bowlers were beginning to tire. Ish Sodhi gave Phillips some tap, and the quicks were getting nothing from the surface.

Somerville, by then past his 45th over, took two wickets in two balls. Sodhi first for 36, then number 10 James Baker. But even as he did it, he had the slightly desperate look of a man who would simply keep bowling until somebody told him he could stop. That point came after 54 overs.

After Northern avoided the follow-on, there was some idea they would declare. They did not. Kuggelijn, perhaps realising his batting partner couldn’t hang around forever, upped his scoring rate, and Northern made it to tea at 331/9.

It was another 12 overs until Auckland finally had the tenth wicket – Kuggelijn for 66, Phillips finishing the innings off. ND scored 376, trailing the Auckland first innings by 92 runs.

The Aces got the final 11 overs of the day to start their second innings. Graeme Beghin and Martin Guptill will resume in the morning on 16 and 14, respectively.

Full scorecard here.

Image Credit: Photosport.co.nz

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