Louis Delport’s maiden five-wicket haul helped the ACES push their chances of victory heading into Day Four against the Otago Volts.
The ACES were made to work through the opening two sessions as Nick Kelly held the Volts innings together with his maiden First-Class century. Nightwatchman Matt Bacon was the first to go when he was struck in front of leg-stump by Delport.
The toil continued as the search for the sixth wicket took some time. Glenn Phillips was introduced into the attack and after some solid graft, Mitch Renwick (20) decided to take the off-spinner on. Phillips found some extra turn and snuck one through Renwick’s aggressive slog-sweep.
After lunch, Nathan Smith (24) helped Kelly take the Volts past 200. Both Renwick and Smith spent considerable time frustrating the ACES, but it was Kelly who showed the most resolve.
It was some time before the ACES grabbed their eighth wicket, a significant one for both sides. Kelly (118) had brought up his hundred with a deft reverse-sweep before he picked out Sean Solia on the mid-wicket boundary. Delport seemed unfussed to have collected his fifth scalp but his teammates met him to celebrate the big wicket.
Solia then mopped up the tail, taking the last two wickets as the Volts were bowled out for 281. Delport led the ACES from the field with figures of 5-77 off 28 overs.
With a lead of 186, all eyes were on Martin Guptill (25) and Jeet Raval to build before stumps. Guptill wasted little time in finding the fence, giving himself some room and accessing the cover boundary from Jacob Duffy’s first delivery. Smith received similar treatment as Guptill took to his hook, taking ten from the first two balls of the second over.
The hitting didn’t stop when Guptill was trapped in front for 25 off 14 balls. By then, the Volts had sent all nine fielders to the boundary. Glenn Phillips took up the mantle of taking the Volts’ bowlers apart, hitting 2 fours and 3 sixes on his way to 34 off 17 balls. Raval got in on the fun too, pulling back-to-back sixes as the ACES raced out to 100/1 after 9.1 overs.
Chapman powered a pull onto the Eden Park concourse, while Raval (66*) brought up a 37-ball fifty. All nine fielders remained on the fence throughout the onslaught as the ACES finished with 166/3 and a lead of 352 heading into Day Four at the Outer Oval.