If this game had gone to the expected script, Derbyshire, after losing the toss today (where have we heard that before?) would have been rolled over for 150 by mid-afternoon and Nottinghamshire would have been close to parity by the close of play.
It didn't work out like that though. 245-2 was a Hitchcock-style twist in the tale and Derbyshire will be thrilled to have both Wayne Madsen (first Derbyshire player to 500 runs this season) and Shivnarine Chanderpaul both there to fight another day.
They are in sparkling form as their sterling efforts against Surrey will testify and few Derbyshire fans would have dared to expect such a score at the end of the first day. Nor, we should assume, would Mick Newell have expected a track quite like this when he picked the expected array of seamers in order to blast us out and we must assume the groundsman has kept a low profile today. It is an odd track for a game that the home side could do with winning too. At least Karl Krikken had the nous to include a specialist spinner in David Wainwright and we can only hope that he and Wes Durston have an opportunity to twirl their magic as the game progresses.
It is funny that after our early season travails with the bat that we now have four batsmen averaging over 50, albeit with Richard Johnson doing so after just three knocks. Chesney Hughes is seventeen short of his 500, albeit aided by his Headingley marathon, while Madsen took his tally to 551 by the end of the day with the promise of more to come. He is a splendid, worthy cricketer and has found his niche at number three. When he gets in there is a reassurance about Madsen at the crease and he seems to enjoy batting with Chanderpaul.
Then again, who wouldn't. The West Indian maestro is 23 short of his own 500 championship runs and seems to have adopted a more relaxed approach at the crease. 'Run a ball Chanderpaul' would be a decent moniker for him as, without appearing to take risks, he works the ball into gaps and keeps the score ticking over. His timing is so exquisite that he rarely seems to hit the ball, leaning on it and caressing it to the boundary with the minimum of fuss. Many a casual cricketer (myself included) would love to know the secret of such timing, which is more aesthetically pleasing to my eyes than someone bludgeoning sixes with a bat the size of a fence post.
450 or 500 would be fantastic tomorrow. Dare we hope for that, or will Nottinghamshire's bowlers get more assistance? Will our batting fall away or will we power on to a score beyond our expectations? Spare a thought tonight for Billy Godleman, who played a supporting role to Chesney Hughes in a fine opening stand, yet again was dismissed without going on to the score that would ease the pressure on him.
Still, for now let's dream of a continued strong performance from our side, that looks to be getting to grips with this level and isn't out of things in the division. We need to press on tomorrow and then put Nottinghamshire under pressure.
How good does that sound?
Postscript - in the Second XI game, Derbyshire replied to Nottinghamshire's 145 with 165. Our rivals were 130-5 in their second innings, just 110 ahead. Alex Hales' struggles continued with only 8 and Derbyshire have a chance of winning the game with a good effort tomorrow.