Kuggeleijn’s 85-ball century puts New Zealand A in command

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Australia A 263 and 31 for 1 need 322 more runs to beat New Zealand A 147 and 468 (Kuggeleijn 101, Solia 91, Abbas 55, Bruce 51, Perry 4-77, Steketee 4-100)

Scott Kuggeleijn struck a rollicking 85-ball century at No. 8 to leave Australia A an imposing target of 353 in the first four-day game at Allan Border Field.

Kuggeleijn’s hundred, his fourth in first-class cricket, included 12 fours and four sixes – one a crunching lofted straight drive off Jordan Buckingham with what resembled a golf swing – and it was the last of them, pulled over deep midwicket off Mitchell Swepson, which took him to three figures after No. 11 Jacob Duffy had survived to give him the chance.

New Zealand A’s lead had been 185 when he walked in with the home side hoping to keep the chase within far lower proportions than it eventually became. Kuggeleijn dominated the scoring, adding 91 for the eighth wicket with Brett Randell.

Australia A lost Tim Ward, edging a cut shot to the keeper, before bad light brought an early close with Cameron Bancroft and Caleb Jewell having weathered some testing bowling.

The hosts’ pace resources had been depleted early in the day when Joel Paris left the field with a hamstring strain and was unable to return. It meant extra work for the three remaining quicks with Mark Steketee and Mitch Perrysharing eight wickets between them.

It was a tough innings for Swepson who finished with 0 for 119 from 27 overs while Buckingham, who had been impressive over the first two days, came in for some tap when Kuggeleijn got going.

Earlier, opener Sean Solia had fallen nine runs short of his century having maneuvered the visitors into a strong position. He was dropped off the first ball of the day when Bancroft missed the chance at second slip but feathered behind against Perry to the final ball of the morning session.
Captain Tom Bruce had brought up a robust half-century before he edged to slip, this time Bancroft taking the catch, and Muhammad Abbas overcame his first-innings duck with a neat fifty which ended when he pulled to deep square leg.

When Perry removed Josh Clarkson and Cam Fletcher in quick succession the contest was very evening poised but the visitors then took charge.

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