There was a good pre-lunch session for Derbyshire today as they took five Leicestershire wickets for 99 runs. Paul Nixon was still there, unbeaten on 30, but our bowlers had done a good job, all five seamers used bowling fairly tightly.
In the afternoon Derbyshire were keen to break through further, having allowed Gloucestershire off the hook from a similar position at Bristol. It appeared as if the sixth wicket was again going to be key to the game as Naik and Nixon reeled off a string of boundaries. Then Greg Smith, in inspired bowling form so far this season, removed Naik to bring together the two most experienced batsmen for the visitors. Claude Henderson got his head down and played a few shots, but at the other end Tim Groenewald produced an inspired spell to rip out three wickets, starting with the dangerous Nixon.
The end finally came, after an assault by Henderson from bowling that was often too short. 96 for the last wicket when the other nine cost only 134 was hard to stomach, but Derbyshire would have taken 230 all out at the start of the day.
It is perhaps unfair to be too critical after what was otherwise a steady bowling performance, but that was a big let-off for Leicestershire and we will need to learn how to finish off an innings. Similarly, there were too many extras given away in what is likely to be a low scoring game.
That last wicket stand could be priceless and fans were doubtless wondering how our brittle batting would fare against Hoggard and Buck, both quality bowlers. Maybe we were trying to tire Hoggard out…
The answer was OK-ish. Wayne Madsen batted well and to the close, but Garry Park went early and Wes Durston was looking good till he got out. Chesney also got out but 101-3 would have been a good position .
101-4, with Dan Redfern going to the last ball, doesn't seem so good.
The first session tomorrow is massive. We could be close to parity by lunchtime or facing a sizeable first innings deficit on a wicket that looks set to produce a result.
All eyes on the County Ground, that's for sure.