Essex 284-3 (Browne 154 not, Lawrence 51 not, Palladino 2-61)
When Derbyshire opted to bowl at Chelmsford today, there was an expectation that they might have some early success, on a wicket that in the past has offered first morning help. With three players in the side (Godleman, Rutherford and Palladino) and a coach who know the ground well, one could be sure it was a decision made in reasonable confidence of success.
Yet it didn't pan out that way. The indefatigable Palladino picked up two pre-lunch wickets, including the in-form Tom Westley third ball, but after that Nick Browne survived a chance to Hughes at slip and proceeded to another big innings against us.
In 2014 at Chesterfield he made 132 not out and 100 not out, then 60 at Chelmsford last year, before 'failing' with 18 at Derby . He would be interested in carrying our attack around in his cricket bag, no doubt and will resume tomorrow intent on taking his impressive average against us still higher.
Yet despite the tough day there has to be respect for the way a young attack maintained discipline. The scoring barely got above three an over all day and all the young seam bowlers continued to keep tight lines and good lengths.
The down side was the catching. I know that this is a skill that is worked upon and drilled, but the bottom line is that no matter how many 'blinders' are taken in warm ups, if they are missed when the action starts, it really counts for nothing.
On wickets where help for bowlers is far from obvious, they need support from the rest of the side when they manage to induce the loose shot. Something to work on, for sure and the old adage of 'catches win matches' has never been more apposite. We have been weak on that so far and must do better.
Still, we weren't the only side to choose bowling first, only to struggle, today. Yorkshire did the same thing at Taunton and chased leather all day as Somerset amassed 342-4.
A funny old game, cricket. We look like batting after the home side score 500 here, so let's hope we make a decent fist of it and bat as a unit, just like the home side has done.
More from me tomorrow.
Postscript: a million hits reached after a very busy couple of days on the blog! Thanks so much to all of you for your support - onwards and upwards eh?