Derbyshire v Middlesex at Derby on 20nd, 21st, 22nd, 23rd August: LV= County Championship: Division One
By John Brown
Following the win in their previous LV= County Championship match against Sussex, Derbyshire fielded an unchanged team, again, therefore, made up of a comparatively young and inexperienced side.
Wayne Madsen was pleased when Middlesex won the toss and asked Derbyshire to bat first since that was what he was hoping to do anyway.
Derbyshire lost only one wicket in the pre-lunch session and it was not until the forty-fifth over that the second wicket fell. Ben Slater had looked very sound in his comparatively new role as opener – when he edged one to the wicketkeeper he had faced 142 balls for his 53. Another wicket fell quickly, but Madsen was batting with his usual control and determination. When he reached 49 he became the first player in the country to reach one thousand runs in Championship cricket in 2013. The accolades he received for this achievement were thoroughly well deserved.
Richard Johnson and Alex Hughes both gave Madsen good support and both contributed 33 runs from 58 balls – an odd coincidence. Peter Burgoyne stayed with his Captain until the close which was taken at 279 for six, Madsen by now having reached his sixteenth first-class century in 204 balls.
The second morning started badly for Derbyshire as two wickets fell in the first two overs. Fortunately Tim Groenewald chose this day to bat with unusual panache: he dominated a ninth-wicket partnership of 66 runs by hitting nine fours in his 48-ball innings of 49 and helped Derbyshire to gain what had looked to be an unlikely fourth batting point (with two balls to spare). Just to add to Middlesex’s irritation at these late runs, Mark Footitt helped Madsen to add a further 35 from five overs for the last wicket.
Derbyshire’s final score of 385 after being put in to bat was more than satisfactory. It looked even better when Sam Robson, having just become the second batsman to reach 1,000 championship runs in the season, was caught at slip off Groenewald just before lunch.
All Derbyshire’s bowlers bowled with control after the interval and the Middlesex batsmen were made to work hard to score their runs. The third wicket to fall was that of Eoin Morgan, well caught at point by fifteen-year-old substitute fielder, Callum Brodrick. The fourth wicket did not fall until another twenty-three overs had been bowled, but only 53 runs were added in that time.
In the next five overs Matt Higginbottom took two more wickets to reduce Middlesex to 154 for six. The seventh wicket pair stayed until the close, but next morning a fine pick-up and throw by Shivnarine Chanderpaul ran out Simpson who was looking in good touch. He and Rayner had added a frustrating 54 together, and Rayner continued to make a good fifty for his team. It looked as though Middlesex would reach 250 for a second batting point, but Footitt finished the innings with two wickets in three balls so they were denied that point by a single run.
Groenewald, Higginbottom and Footitt had taken three wickets each and when Footitt finished the innings by dismissing Steven Finn, who had returned from London after being omitted from the Test team, he achieved the one hundredth first-class wicket of his career.
Derbyshire started their second innings with a very useful lead of 136, but this soon looked less than healthy when they lost their first three wickets for sixteen runs. Chanderpaul and Johnson set about the vital task of rebuilding the innings as they added 52 in seventeen overs together. Alex Hughes joined Johnson and stayed with him while another 48 were added. Even so, when three more wickets fell in quick succession to leave Derbyshire on 136 for eight, it seemed that Middlesex might be about to stage an unlikely turn-around. Enter Groenewald again and, although he added only another quick twenty, it gave Middlesex a challenging target of 297 to win.
Middlesex had nine overs to bat on the third evening, and they lost Denly and night-watchman Finn, who recorded his second duck in the match. Middlesex thus finished the day on 25 for two, but Robson and Voges started the last morning as though they believed the target was well within their reach. It came as something of a relief when Groenewald produced a beauty to bowl Robson after this pair had added fifty together. When Footitt bowled Morgan and Simpson in three balls it looked as though the result was little more than a foregone conclusion, and this view was reinforced when the seventh wicket fell on the stroke of lunch, taken at 121 for seven.
The pairing of Berg and Rayner had different ideas, however, and, by the time they had taken the score past two hundred, there were some anxious faces among the Derbyshire supporters. With the score on 206, however, Higginbottom produced a ball which Berg edged to slip where Chesney Hughes took a sharp catch cleanly.
Now Roland-Jones stayed with Rayner while a further thirty were added for the ninth wicket before he was caught down the leg-side off Footitt. Peter Burgoyne had bowled with good control and it was probably fitting that he should have forced last man Murtagh to edge to slip where Hughes held his third excellent catch of the day.
There was much joy and satisfaction in the Derbyshire ranks at their second victory in two matches, a result which lifted them above Somerset and Surrey, the two teams most likely to be involved in the end-of-season relegation battle and the two teams which they are due to play away from home during the next fortnight. They are going to be tense times.
Derbyshire 395 (115 overs) (WL Madsen 138*, BT Slater 53, TD Groenewald 49, RM Johnson 33, AL Hughes 33, PI Burgoyne 23; TJ Murtagh 3 for 63, OP Rayner 2 for 60, JAR Harris 2 for 105)
160 (63.3 overs) (RM Johnson 59, S Chanderpaul 32, AL Hughes 24, TD Groenewald 20; OP Rayner 5 for 67, TJ Murtagh 2 for 24)
Middlesex 249 (93.3 overs) (AC Voges 69, OP Rayner 52*, JA Simpson 36, EJG Morgan 28, NJ Dexter 21; TD Groenewald 3 for 54, M Higginbottom 3 for 59, MHA Footitt 3 for 69)
240 (74.3 overs) (GK Berg 71, AC Voges 48, OP Rayner 46*, SD Robson 29; MHA Footitt 4 for 65, PI Burgoyne 3 for 66, TD Groenewald 2 for 47)
Derbyshire (23 points) beat Middlesex (4) by 56 runs
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