Rahul Dravid became the first Indian centurion of this tour with a brisk 102 for the Canterbury Wizards on Day One of the State Championship tier against Central Stags at the Mainpower Oval, Rangiora on Friday.
Dravid, who reached New Zealand on Tuesday along with V.V.S. Laxman, Lakshmipathi Balaji, Murali Vijay, Amit Mishra and Dhawal Kulkarni, the other Test specialists, ensured that he spent plenty of time in the middle in his only chance for match practice ahead of the first Test in Hamilton on March 18.
Bating at No. 3, Dravid added 93 for the second wicket with Michael Papps and did better for the third wicket, putting on 153 alongside Johann Myburgh. Both Papps and Myburgh notched up centuries as the Wizards took control of
proceedings, reaching 388 for 5.
Amit Mishra, like the other Stags’ bowlers, struggled to penetrate, ending the day with figures of none for 101 from 28 overs.
Dravid, who spent nearly four hours at the crease, struck 13 boundaries and faced 164 balls. This was Dravid's third first-class century in four matches, following hundreds in the Duleep Trophy quarterfinal (Bangalore) and semifinal (Rajkot). He was dismissed soon after reaching his century, becoming one of four victims of medium-pacer Brendon Diamanti.
There was no similar success story for the other batsman playing domestic cricket in New Zealand as Laxman was dismissed for 20 (69m, 46b, 1x4) in the match between Otago Volts and Wellington Firebirds.
Balaji, bowling for the Firebirds, returned figures of 15-4-39-1 as his team bowled out the Volts for only 174.
Brief Scores: At Rangiora: Canterbury Wizards 388/5 in 99.5 ovrs (Todd Astle 29, Michael Papps 127, Rahul Dravid 102, Johann Myburgh 104 n.o.; Brendon Diamanti 4-43, Amit Mishra 28-1-101-0) vs Central Stags; At Dunedin: Otago Volts: 174 all out in 60.4 ovrs (Craig Cumming 29, V.V.S. Laxman 20, Shaun Haig 26, Warren McSkimming 39 n.o.; Lakshmipathi Balaji 15-4-39-1, Michael Burns 4-41, Dewayne Bowden 3-40) vs Wellington Firebirds: 94/5 in 36.2 overs (Josh Brodie 32; Neil Wagner 2-35).