Sunday, 23 June 2013

Derbyshire v Somerset day 3

Given the speed at which wickets went down at Derby in the one session of play that was possible today, it may not yet be beyond the realms of possibility that a positive result could come from this truncated, yet thoroughly absorbing match.

86 runs on with eight wickets in hand, tomorrow will be an opportunity for someone to make a name for themselves, after Tony Palladino and Tim Groenewald did just that today. Reading the chairman's tweet this afternoon, they both appear to have earned a bottle of champagne for their efforts, a nice touch from a man who is renowned for such things.

We could do with a Chanderpaul fifty-plus tomorrow and support down the order on a day where Somerset will not fancy anything over 220. With a better forecast, the likelihood is of a full day's play, though whether less cloud makes for easier batting conditions, or it will be equally challenging due to the condition of the wicket is a moot point.

The big decision that will be mulled over by Messrs Krikken and Madsen overnight is the runs v time equation. If they are genuine in their push for a win - and they really have to be - they need to allow time to take ten wickets, but in doing so can leave the door open for a Somerset batting line-up that is highly unpredictable. Several members of that side have either England or Lions experience and in some eyes Derbyshire will still be the underdogs in this game.

By the same token, they haven't played at Derby for a few years and didn't make an especially good fist of their first innings. We will hope to bat until the early afternoon but will base a declaration - if they do well enough to get to that stage - on how the wicket plays. It may soon become evident in the morning that 220 would be more than enough; conversely without cloud cover 250 may be gettable for a visiting side that can bat better than they showed first time around.

It promises to be an excellent day of county cricket on the type of wicket that generally produces such a match. Any day of the week I would take a game where 200 plays 250 or thereabouts, ahead of one where 450 plays 375. It is still possible to get runs, as Kim Barnett used to show a few years back when our wickets were tailored for a strong seam attack, but you have to work at it.

Spare a thought though, as I suggested last night, for opening batsmen. When Barnett used to lead off on such tracks with near to a hundred before lunch, he was an experienced player with plenty of confidence who was used to the bounce and movement. Whichever combination we choose from Godleman, Hughes, Slater and Borrington we have no one with such experience, nor the confidence to play in such a manner. If they can stick around, see the shine off the new ball, take away some of the hardness and make it easier for those down the order they will be doing a job though.

Let's just hope that Somerset's openers don't do that tomorrow. This game is definitely winnable and the men who took the wickets yesterday and today are the ones who can do it, rather than the greater pace of Mark Footitt.

Fingers crossed...


Marc said...

We have no option but to go for it. Draws are no use in our position. We really have to get cracking tomorrow and give ourselves the time to bowl them out and at the same time offer Somerset a target they will go for.

If it doesn't work then so be it but I would rather we lost trying to win than settle for a meaningless draw. I dont think Somerset will relish batting last and if Palladino and Groenewald can reproduce their first innings form we have just a chance to pull this off.

Regarding Barnett, he was captain at 23,opening the batting and also scoring his fair share of runs at that age. He started as a middle order batsman so it could be argued he was not a specialist opener, but he turned himself into one.

Opening is a different ball game to coming in at 5 or 6 but Borrington, Godleman and Slater are supposedly specialists, so I don't really see why any special allowance should be made for failure. Hughes may well be better suited at 3 or 4 but those slots are current occupied. If opening is such as specialist position then it must work the other way round and it would be fair to ask why Slater is batting at 6 and having to cope with a set of alien circumstances to which he is unfamiliar.

Quite frankly we don't have anyone who is good enough or consistent enough to claim an opening slot is rightfully theirs and for one or two, time is running out if it hasn't done already.Let's face it, Borrington couldn't even score runs in division 2. Slater will no doubt have the chance to prove himself over the next year or two and he may or may not come good. In reality the problems we had last season with the top order have carried over, the only difference being the form of Madsen at 3 which has tended to stabilize things after the inevitable loss of early wickets.

For next season we need to have a serious look at the top order and maybe look to recruit from outside if we don't have the answer within.

notoveryet said...

Unusually for me, I'll be the dissenting voice, then. The last thing we should do here is let Somerset back into the game with any sort of declaration. There's enough left in the season to hope that we can close the gap as long as we don't lose ground now on two teams we have a game in hand on. A draw means that a win (or even a good draw) in our game in hand puts us ahead or very close to Somerset. A win puts us 3 points in front with a game in hand. A defeat puts us so far behind, we can't make the gap up even with a maximum points win in the game in hand. Overall, the consequences of losing are greater than the benefits of winning, therefore there's nothing to be gained by a gamble.

Having said this, it's cloudy but dry tomorrow, and on a pitch where the last 10 wickets have gone for 150 in less than 50 overs, I suspect that declarations won't come into it, and the deciding factor may be Chanderpaul v Trescothick.

Peakfan said...

Good comments gents. I agree that a positive result should come today and it is down to which side has the best battling mentality to overcome a 'sporting' track.

Marc said...

Fair points Notoveryet but I'm not sure the consequences of losing outweigh the benefit of winning.I know we still have Somerset and Surrey to play again, but before that we meet Durham, Yorkshire,Sussex and Middlesex, all teams that are doing well. We could win one of those games, but given our record so far you would have to say the chances are against it.

During the same period we would need both our rivals to fail to win any of their matches,particularly Surrey, who with just one win under their belt would have opened up a sizable gap between us. By the time we meet the them,even if we beat them both it still might not be enough to catch them up and it would leave little time left to do so.

I know it's all ifs and buts and there are still many opportunities for twists and turns but with each game that passes without a win, the harder the task becomes. I know I've said this before, but any bad weather from now on can only hinder us. How many of the remaining matches are going to escape unscathed?.

The biggest danger for me is we are going to leave any recovery too late and realistically there are only two teams we stand a chance of catching. We have to gamble to some extent because our position demands it and in the end, how many more chances of winning are going to come along, given we have had no other so far?.

Paul said...

Disagree about a bottle of champagne for two players being a nice touch.

It's a team game and the players win and lose as a team. If Derbyshire lose the game, then rewarding two players individually is crass in my opinion. If Derbyshire win the game, then champagne all round (particularly in having done so from the mess they're in at time of posting).


Mark said...

Absolutely laughable yet again by these perennial failures. This is going to be the worst campaign by a division 1 team for a long long time. Somerset were the one side who we were pinning our hopes on winning, but even they proved too strong for the pathetically weak Derbyshire. Time for change and I'm sure Krikken and Houghton are starting to feel a bit uncomfortable with what's happening on the field. Not good enough.

Peakfan said...

Mark - sorry mate, by definition you cannot call a team that won a league last year perennial failures. Knee jerk and unnecessary. You're going to change to...what? who?
Paul - the great thing about cricket is that you can celebrate individual AND team success. We'll agree to disagree!