Sunday, 22 May 2016

Derbyshire v Kent day 1

Derbyshire 381-7 (Madsen 103, Broom 96, Thakor 86 not, Taylor 39 not, Coles 4-75)

v Kent

Having won the toss and opted to bat at Derby today, it would not have been part of the script for Derbyshire to slip to 35-3 inside the first hour, with captain, top scorer and overseas star all back in the pavilion.

There was a time when such a start would have heralded teatime submission, but this Derbyshire side is showing itself to be made of sterner stuff and, by the close, had reached a very respectable 381-7.

The recovery was led by Wayne Madsen, who made his 20th century for the club and reached it with a reverse sweep, a sign of class and confidence. He will be annoyed at going soon afterwards, but shared a fine stand of 161 with Neil Broom, who made 96 and showed, after last night's sensible knock, that he is coming to terms with English wickets at last.

It takes time, even for a man of international experience and with a first-class average north of forty. Yet class will always tell and I have every confidence that he will make a telling contribution for us this season. It was a shame he missed his first ton in our colours, but it will come, before too long.

Broom added 85 with Shiv Thakor, who was unbeaten on 86 at the close and is having a really good season. There were a few doubters last year, when the all rounder struggled for his best form with the bat, even though he bowled well at times. This year he has both disciplines working well, scoring fluently and bowling accurately and well. It is a tough gig, but if Shiv continues to work and listen to his coaches, he has what it takes to go a long way in cricket.

Tom Poynton and Matt Critchley failed, highlighting the dilemma at seven once again for Graeme Welch and supporters. I think that they are both very good cricketers, but eight is their place in the order, at the highest, on their form with the bat this summer. Alex Hughes would give greater depth to the batting and offer something different with skiddy seam, but Critchley offers variety, if he can take wickets with his spin as well as he kept Lancashire quiet last night. He should get to bowl on a last day pitch here.

Of course, Wes Durston is another option, but Wes has a big workload in one-day cricket in the coming weeks and we don't want to overload a very important cog in our T20 plans as captain, pinch-hitter and spin option.

At the end of the day, as the bowlers tired, Tom Taylor came in and shared in an unbroken stand of 69 with Thakor, confirming his own ability with the bat and coming in ahead of Tony Palladino for the first time. They saw off Matt Coles with the new ball and scored steadily, this after the bowler had taken four earlier wickets. I rate Coles as a cricketer and it is just a shame that he occasionally does daft things that get him into bother. He runs in hard all day and hits a good ball too, an asset to any side.

Tomorrow all eyes will be on Shiv Thakor, to see if he can make his first Derbyshire century, and on Tom Taylor, to see if he can register a maiden fifty. If they do and we can push on to 450, then we are in a position of control in this game.

It is all up to the bowlers, after that, though it doesn't look the world's worst batting track at this stage.

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