Friday, 7 August 2015
Leicestershire v Derbyshire
I was quite amused tonight, when I read the headline on Cricinfo. 'Shrek takes three' was the summation of day one, which somewhat neglected a rather more impressive feat going on among the batting side.
When I heard we had lost the toss and would be facing Charlie Shreck and Clint McKay on a green top, I had a few concerns and fully expected us to be bowled out by tea time. Both are good experienced bowlers and they had every advantage they could have wished for.
Nothing up to lunch changed that opinion, though a battling stand between Alex Hughes and Wayne Madsen (pictured) ensured we at least got there with only three wickets down. That we got to the close and passed 300 with two wickets left was down to the good support lent by Shiv Thakor and Harvey Hosein and to a quite superb innings by the captain.
He would perhaps admit himself that this has not been his best season, but a broken finger cost him matches and rhythm. Today's innings makes him yet again our leading championship run scorer and his average is 47. If we had another three batsmen in that sort of 'poor form' I would gladly take them...
Our finishing position is better than looked possible but is not yet, I would think, a match-winning one. Having said that, much depends on how the wicket plays tomorrow, when a brittle home batting side, heavily reliant on a couple of players, could be in trouble in similar conditions.
Plenty of fight then and not for the first or last time we are indebted to Wayne Madsen, one of the best batsmen we have had, possibly up there with Kim Barnett if you take out those who played in overseas roles. Where we would have been without him in recent seasons is a moot point.
We can make a good step towards winning this one with disciplined bowling tomorrow, although first on the agenda will be ten more runs for Mark Footitt and a personal best score. I'm still slightly baffled as to how he gets in ahead of Ben Cotton, who I have seen bat a few times and can hit a ball, but Mark enjoyed a merry ninth wicket stand today that took us to the extra batting point.
For what it is worth, I would still have had him at Trent Bridge, but am pleased to see that barring weather Noah was preparing for, England should go 3-1 up and take the Ashes tomorrow. That was my pre-series prediction, quite possibly the only one I have got right this year.
Which is why I don't bet, of course...