Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Essex v Derbyshire day 3

So, 199 to win with five wickets left.

Logic and forty-odd years of cricket watching suggests that it isn't going to happen, especially on a last day pitch where the occasional ball is now keeping low. It shouldn't stop us trying and it won't, of course, but for me there's not enough runs in our lower order for us to win this one.

It is right that you pick your seam bowlers to take wickets, of course, and Derbyshire's have done well in this game, especially Tim Groenewald and Mark Footitt, but you wouldn't put your beer money on Footitt or Mark Turner playing the sort of lower order cameo to which we have become accustomed from Tony Palladino or Jonathan Clare. Their absence has left our tail looking longer than of late, not a criticism but a statement of fact.

Of course, while there's Shiv, there's hope, but Richard Johnson, David Wainwright and Tim Groenewald must dig in tomorrow and help the little master eke out those runs and get us at least to respectability.

The difference so far has been Alastair Cook's monumental seven hour-plus innings, without which we'd be sitting pretty tonight. He showed his class when it was needed, as has Chanderpaul, of course, yet to be dismissed in the game.

Sometimes you don't get the breaks in the game of cricket. Both Wayne Madsen and Wes Durston were caught down the leg side, always a cruel way to go, while Chesney was out to one that kept horribly low. Such misfortune tends to even out over the season, but in one that might otherwise have been close, you can live without them.

I don't expect to be reporting on a win tomorrow, but I hope that we take it closer to the wire and  show more than we did at the start of day two, when we were in a similar position. Nor do I think this is setting the standard for the season. Were it not for one world-class batsman at his best, we'd be in a winning position tonight.

Whether we get there tomorrow is down to another world-class batsman and whether he gets the support that he needs to pull off something extraordinary.

Postscript - nice to see a mid-afternoon score update from the second team game. I do hope we see these as the season goes on, as we will all be watching them with great interest.


Anonymous said...

Not sure I agree with that Peakfan, we got Cook strangled down leg in the first innings so fair to say luck on both sides so far.

Worrying early signs for the batting, it's been our weakness for a few years now. If this good weather continues then it's going to be a batsman's summer (So many tons this round of matches for April) and we'll need to bat for long periods which, outside of Mads and Shiv, the batsman haven't done much before.

But it is of course very early days and I'm sure Welch is aware of the issues of last season and is getting to know how best to approach the season.


Mark said...

I really hope this isn't a sign of things to come Peakfan. As soon as the real cricket starts several of the players go missing. Here's hoping we make it respectable tomorrow.

Peakfan said...

Take your point on Cook, Alex and know he went the same way. Just that to chase 360 you need a bit of luck and to lose two in the same way is unfortunate or careless depending on your point of view...

Marc said...

After such a good start it,s hard to believe we find ourselves on the verge of defeat.

It would be unwise to draw conclusions from one game. This may just be a one-off and things will change against Hampshire. I,m saying this in the hope we can still pull off a miracle,but realistically,that is not going to happen.

We have to learn and move on and get our act together quickly. I feel we didn,t play our strongest team for this match. Bowler rotation may become necessary as the season progresses but for the opening game of the season,I see little reason not to play what most would regard as our strongest bowling attack.

In no way does that exonerate the majority of batsmen who haven,t had a game to remember. The pitch may have misbehaved at times today,but that,s always a risk when batting last,even though this is only a third day pitch. Something to bear in mind for the future,should Madsen win the toss.

I think it only fair to give the benefit of the doubt for this game and come out fighting in the next. We still have 15 matches to go,but as we found out last season,they can go all too quickly. There,s no reason for anyone to panic and perhaps we will look at this game as a blip in an otherwise good season. In the longer term it might even have done us some good.