Nick Winter celebrates one of his four wickets on Tuesday. Photo: Graham Tidy
A brilliant opening spell from Nick Winter has put the ACT Comets in a commanding position with a 143-run lead after day two of their Futures League match against South Australia at Queanbeyan's Freebody Oval.
Winter's four early wickets had South Australia in big trouble at 5-30, as they chased the Comets' first innings total of 267.
The left-hander sent Alexander Ross, Ben Dougall and Stuart Coles back to the pavilion scoreless, having earlier claimed the scalp of opener Kelvin Smith for five.
Winter was able to extract plenty of movement from the Dukes ball. Photo: Graham Tidy
''That's the best Nick's bowled for the Comets, so it was fantastic to see him bowl like that to be honest,'' coach Mark Higgs said.
''We're using Dukes balls which is a different cricket ball … and he was able to get that to swing a long way.''
The English-made Dukes ball has been introduced to the league to help players get used to England's ball of choice ahead of the Ashes series.
Winter had the best results, finishing the innings with 4-37 from his 20 overs, including seven maidens.
But the Comets ''let their foot off the gas'' in the middle session to allow Tim Davey (41 runs) and opener Alex Carey (62) to claw their way back.
Cullen Bailey added a patient 35, while No.10 Usman Qadir hit a quick fire 28 from 33 balls to surpass the 200 mark, with the visitors eventually bowled out for 207.
The Comets set about extending their 60-run lead, but Jono Dean was bowled by Carl Tietjens for a duck, with Tietjens also accounting for Aaron Ayre to take the Comets to 2-27.
''We lost a couple of early ones but we were able to put the pressure back on with some good stroke play, so we were able to probably put the ledger on our side a little bit, but obviously [there's] still a long way to go,'' Higgs said.
Matthew Gawthrop (44 not out) and Dean Solway (22 not out) finished the day looking comfortable at the crease.
''The wicket's starting to deteriorate a bit, so it's going to be harder and harder to play on in the next couple of days,'' Higgs said. ''So it's really important we go in tomorrow to look to make a big score and really put the pressure on them.
''I think 300 plus will be hard to get on the last day, we'll be aiming for something like that. I'd love to get another 200, that'd be perfect.''