Sunday, 26 July 2015

Derbyshire v Australia day 3

Australia 413-9 declared and 95-1 (Clarke 44 not)

Derbyshire 259 (Palladino 82, Marsh 4-41)

Match drawn

In the end, the match ended in the fashion that I predicted, although not with special prescience. The Australian back up bowlers got a work out, Mitchell Marsh showed himself to be every bit the dynamic all-rounder I have felt him to be for the past two years and it all ended somewhat limply after a rather lack lustre few days.

After losing two sessions to the weather it was always likely to be so and the fact that we selected close to a second team for the match rendered it a somewhat uneven game. That we got as close as we did to the Australian score was due to an innings of rare brilliance from Tony Palladino, who seems to harness the spirit of Gilbert Jessop whenever he hears Australian accents.

Tonking the ball merrily through and over the field, Tony's 82 came from just 68 balls and was as diametrically opposed to the attritional nature of what went before it as was possible. Four sixes and eight fours poured from the bat of a man who must be close to consideration as an all-rounder these days. He is a fine professional and a cricketer we should cherish, always giving of his best in every match.

He was well supported by David Wainwright, who made 38 and reminded everyone of the sort of rearguard action that was once commonplace. It is just such a shame that David seems to lack confidence in his bowling these days, some way short of the man who looked so impressive in that golden summer of 2012.

The same must be said for Jonathan Clare, who is feeling his way back into the first-class game after too long out with a major back problem. Will we see either in the county colours again? I don't know the answer to that one, but the reality is that both have younger competition for the jobs they do in the side. Ultimately, in any sport, that happens and it is tough to see a talented match-winner, which Jonathan was in his prime, struggling to re-establish himself.

The Australians seemed to be model guests and conducted themselves well, signing autographs as one would hope they would do of course. For the young people who attended and got those signatures, the three days and the result were largely incidental.

They rubbed shoulders with cricketing deities and will doubtless keep the evidence of that for years to come.

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