New Zealand's two most high profile cricketers have been dismissed cheaply in Plunket Shield action today.
Discarded Black Caps captain Ross Taylor, in his first innings back since his much publicised break, was dismissed for just 4 in Central Districts' first innings of 303-8 declared against Canterbury in McLean Park in Napier.
Taylor pushed forward at a delivery angled across him by lively Canterbury left-armer Ryan McCone and touched an edge to wicketkeeper Tom Latham.
Taylor faced 25 deliveries and spent 28 cautious minutes at the crease in his first match back since November 29 when he was named man of the match for his knocks of 142 and 74 in the second Test victory over Sri Lanka in Colombo.
His inauspicious comeback will leave the New Zealand Cricket selectors with plenty to ponder ahead of the series against England.
"I don't think anyone's got an automatic right to selection, no matter who they are," New Zealand Cricket director John Buchanan said.
"I mean there's no question he's the best batsman in the country and has demonstrated that for a period of time but nonetheless there's a few steps he has to take."
Taylor will get another chance in his second dig before playing against Auckland next week.
CD's first innings was led by veteran Mathew Sinclair (86) and Kruger van Wyk (71) sharing a sixth-wicket partnership of 142. In reply Canterbury are one for one having lost George Worker for no score.
Ryder hits speed bump
Meanwhile, former Black Cap Jesse Ryder's cricketing rehabilitation has hit a speed bump, with the hard-hitting left-hander dismissed for four off seven balls in Wellington's Plunket Shield match against Otago in Dunedin this morning.
After a stellar HRV Cup campaign for the Firebirds, Ryder appeared to be still in limited overs mode during his brief 10-minute stay.
The 28-year-old, who is expected to make an announcement on his immediate playing future next week, pulled opening bowler Blair Soper to the mid-wicket boundary off the first ball he faced.
A cry of "it's not Twenty20, Jesse" rang out from the crowd, after Ryder then mistimed a crossbatted swipe on the bounce to mid-off next ball.
He continued to blaze away with little footwork in Soper's next over, but couldn't add to his run tally and perished when he missed a straight ball that sent his middle stump cartwheeling out of the ground.
Earlier, Wellington's opening pair of Michael Papps and James Brodie appeared to be setting the platform for a big total, when they raced to 56 without loss inside 12 overs after being sent in to bat.
But they departed in quick succession, when Papps edged an outswinger from paceman James Fuller through to the keeper and Brodie miscued a pull off Soper straight to mid-on in the next over.
Ryder's dismissal left them teetering at 68-3, and a steady progression of wickets saw them bowled out for 254.
In reply Otago had powered to 139 for one off just 29 overs with Hamish Rutherford (90* off 102 balls) and Michael Bracewell's (36* off 67 balls) unbeaten stand of 129 looking omnious for the vistors.
Auckland on backfoot despite Hakaraia hundred
A maiden first class century to Dusan Hakaraia wasn't enough for Auckland in their Plunket Shield match against Northern Districts in Hamilton today.
Hakaraia's 141 off just 142 balls, which included 22 fours and two sixes, was the only bright spot in Auckland's first innings of 240 all out.
Opening bowler Anurag Verma was the chief destroyer, taking a
career best 7/82.
In reply ND had motored to 152 for one off just 35 overs with Daniel Flynn (78*) and Brad Wilson (63*) in total control.