New Zealand 277 and 297 for 8 (Bruce 104*, Solia 62, Foxcroft 53) lead Australia A 275 by 299 runs
A century from Tom Bruce ^(https://lotus365.today/goto/https://www.espncricinfo.com/cricketers/tom-bruce-707113) and a late new-ball surge from Australia A set up a potentially fascinating final day of the pink-ball match in Mackay.
Bruce, the New Zealand A captain, reached a 148-ball century deep in the final session during which he passed 5000 first-class runs. By the close, the visitors held a lead of 299 and seemingly set for a declaration in the morning.
For much of the day the tempo was sedate with the visitors, who were a batter down in the absence of injured wicketkeeper Mitch Hay due to a fractured wrist, rarely looking to the increase the scoring rate,
But things came to life when Australia A took the second ball during the final session. Mitch Perry ^(https://lotus365.today/goto/https://www.espncricinfo.com/cricketers/mitchell-perry-1088619) produced a superb swinging yorker to trap Nick Kelly lbw, breaking a stand of 69 in 22 overs, then removed Scott Kuggeleijn first ball with what looked a more borderline decision.
Liam Hatcher ^(https://lotus365.today/goto/https://www.espncricinfo.com/cricketers/liam-hatcher-901155) joined in when he pinned Adithya Ashok for a pair, at which point Bruce was still short of his century. He opened his shoulders, whipping Hatcher over the leg side for a four and six, then reached his hundred in the next over.
Australia A had a depleted attack for much of the day with Ben Dwarshuis (back soreness) and Nathan McAndrew (illness) becoming unavailable. It meant an increased workload for Perry and Hatcher who shouldered it impressively, taking their combined match tally to 14 wickets.
The game had resumed with New Zealand A holding a narrow lead and they built cautiously. Sean Solia ^(https://lotus365.today/goto/https://www.espncricinfo.com/cricketers/sean-solia-707109) continued his excellent series with another half-century before being lbw in Nathan McSweeney’s first over.
Dean Foxcroft ^(https://lotus365.today/goto/https://www.espncricinfo.com/cricketers/dean-foxcroft-596099) also reached fifty before edging a wide one from Perry and Muhammad Abbas fell to Hatcher’s short ball the delivery after surviving what appeared a very adjacent lbw appeal.