Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Middlesex v Derbyshire day two

Try as I might, I cannot think of a single Derbyshire batsman who has burst onto the scene as Wayne Madsen has this year, since being plucked from the Central Lancashire League by John Morris.

I know that Daryl Cullinan reeled off a few early centuries for us when he was our overseas player, but to be honest you hope that an overseas player might do that for you and the South African had a reputation before he joined us as a batsman of real talent.

While Madsen was known in South Africa, it is fair to say that his deeds there had put him in the "talented but nothing spectacular" pile. One century and some decent scores, but an average in the mid-30's suggested steady, rather than spectacular.

Yet this year seems to have seen him transform into a genuine top batsman. 704 runs in 13 innings at an average of 64 is spectacular stuff, yet perhaps pales alongside his record this year at Unsworth.

In 29 innings for the club he scored 1995 runs at an average of 99.75. Seven hundreds and eleven fifties. Oh, and 41 wickets at 16. That's almost 3,000 runs and he has exceeded that if you count the runs he scored in our Second Eleven. Mr Morris, you have found us a star...

Don't get me wrong, he'll have less fertile periods with the bat, but with the news that we are likely to be able to keep Chris Rogers next year, who can honestly say they're not excited at Rogers and Madsen opening together next year?

Today he scored 167 and what I like about him is that he starts steadily and then, when he's got the measure of the track, opens up and scores as quickly as anyone. He also scores BIG hundreds. I like batsmen who don't just slog it when they get to a hundred. Rack them up on that scoreboard.

With good support down the order he allowed us to declare once we'd reached the maximum batting points. There was selfless batting from Smith, Pipe and Hinds and John Sadler was again left cursing what might have been on a belter of a track, left unbeaten at the declaration.

Yet anyone who thinks Middlesex will roll over and die will be disappointed. The early wicket of Housego was welcome, but little else looked likely until Dawid Malan was run out in the last over. Earlier Housego was reprieved by Peter Willey who gave him out lbw then recalled him having realised he'd made a bad decision. Maybe he just wanted another go at the decision as Steffan got him in front shortly afterwards.

The hosts are effectively three down as Adam London, their young opening batsman fractured his right little finger stopping a ball in the covers and is unlikely to bat in the match. Shame for the youngster, but on such things can seasons turn...

Much will depend on the first session tomorrow. If we can split Compton and the in-form Dexter (how redolent of English cricket at its best are those names?) then there's still a chance we could break through. If we don't, then we're probably looking at a last afternoon teasing run chase, enough to keep them interested, enough to risk defeat - but maybe enough to nick that priceless win.

Meanwhile Northamptonshire were bowled out for 299 (missing that extra bonus point - shame...) at Essex, who closed on 3-0. All we need tomorrow is for them to post a big total, then for Kaneria to bowl Northants out on the last day.

Now if we can just sort our side of things...

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