Christchurch:Stylish Indian middle-order batsman VVS Laxman made a stodgy 44 to help Otago Volts gain control over Wellington Firebirds in a low-scoring four-day match of the New Zealand Cricket state championship at Dunedin on Saturday.
The classy Hyderabadi struck six boundaries in his 123-minute stay at the wicket and shared a crucial 77-run third wicket stand with G Todd (73).
The Volts, who were bowled out for 174 in their first innings, skittled out the Firebirds for a modest 139 to take a 35-run lead.
In their second essay, the Volts were on 210 for the loss of seven wickets when stumps were drawn.
Right-arm seamer Laxmipathi Balaji picked up the crucial wicket of Nathan McCullum giving away 39 runs in his 18 overs.
Elsewhere at Rangiora, former India skipper Rahul Dravid, who made a dignified 102 on Friday, spent most of his time in the dressing room as Canterbury Wizards stretched their overnight score of 388 for five to 543 all out in 158.2 overs.
Leg-spinner Amit Mishra, who went wicketless yesterday, claimed three wickets today for 155 runs in his 48.2-over spell.
At stumps Central Stags were on 130 for the loss of three wickets.
Otago Volts: 174 all out and 210 for 7 in 78 overs (G Todd 73, VVS Laxman 44, Nathan McCullum 33; Michael Burns 2 for 51, L Balaji 1/39);
Wellington Firebirds: 139 all out in 56.3 overs (Josh Brodie 32, L Woodcock 36, Balaji 12)
Canterbury Wizards: 543 all out in 158.2 overs (Todd Astle 29, Michael Papps 127, Rahul Dravid 102, Johannes Myburgh 107, Corrie Van Wyk 92, A Ellis 43, Brendon Diamanti 5/74, Amit Mishra 3/155); Central Stags: 130 for 3 in 41 overs).