Derbyshire 324 and 229-1 (Hughes 109 not, Godleman 94)
Northamptonshire 470 (Levi 104)
A match that looked like it had 'draw' written all over it from the end of the second day lived up to its moniker today.
The wicket was simply too good for a finish and Billy Godleman and Chesney Hughes saw us comfortably through to a draw with a superb opening stand of 215. It was the latter's second ton of the season, in which he already has 400 runs at a trifling average of 133..
It was a fine effort, albeit with controversy when Billy Godleman refused to walk for a catch near the boundary, believing the ball hadn't carried. The fielder said he had caught it cleanly, the batsman felt he hadn't and the umpires agreed. Whether the home side and its supporters were unhappy is neither here nor there, but any batsman is entitled to stand his ground if unsure and the decision has to be made by the umpires. That is, after all, why they are paid. We have all seen and many of us taken catches we felt clean that bounced just ahead of our dive - think back to the T20 World Cup final and the 'catch' taken by Jos Buttler from Marlon Samuels.
There will doubtless be calls of Billy 'attracting controversy', but I don't buy it on this occasion.
Last week I talked about the need, on such dead wickets, for sides to play 'brave' cricket and there was another example here, where the home side failed to do so. Their decision to bat on last night left them only one slim window to win the game - making enough runs to sow seeds of doubt in our minds, then bowling us out. It appeared an unlikely scenario on such a track and, with respect, needed a better attack than they have to do so.
Had they declared on 300, or even 275, they had two chances. There was a slim likelihood of bowling us out, perhaps with quick wickets last night, or a better chance of chasing, say, 275 in 55 overs. It may not have worked either, but it gave them a better chance of a positive result.
Sides need to seek and take those chances this season, or it will go down as one of the most dull in recent memory. Look at the scores in the current round of matches and see what I mean. From a spectator perspective, last days have all the intrigue of watching a melting ice cube. If the four-day county game is to be eased out, they have found a mighty fine way of going about it. Death by boredom may yet occur...
It was good to see Andy Carter take two of the last three wickets today. He's not yet hit his stride, but I remain convinced he will. There are plenty of bowlers struggling this year and trying to make an impression at a new county is not easy in such conditions.
Still, we were professional to the end and a draw eased to is better than the scrambled efforts we have seen many times before, or the somewhat ignominious defeats.
You have to admit, the batting looks strong this year.
Sussex at home next. More from me soon.