Derbyshire 288 and 160 (Reece 55, Godleman 27, Mendis 27 )
Glamorgan 237 and 0-1 (Mendis 1-0)
Glamorgan need 212 to win
I will be quite blunt to start this blog.
I fully expect Derbyshire to win this game tomorrow, probably with something to spare, as long as the weather doesn't intervene. It seems set for a cloudy day, but with only the chance of an occasional light shower.
If we don't, then we will have bowled poorly, because we have the perfect combo for a win on the fourth day of the game - a lead of 200-plus and two genuine, not part-time, spinners in the side. The wicket is wearing and one only has to watch how balls turned sharply today - some, like the one that dismissed Luis Reece and the one that got Billy Godleman, climbed sharply off a length too. Aside from one of the spinners only being 16, if a spinner who has never taken more than three in an innings can at times look like Jim Laker, you have to be confident. Wayne Madsen may be loosening his fingers for this one, too, if required.
For me, you would expect your overseas spinner to win the game from here and I hope Jeevan Mendis gets a good sleep tonight, because his last bowl for us is likely to be a long one tomorrow. I expect Mendis to bowl a long spell at one end, with Tony Palladino and Hamidullah Qadri taking turns at the other, because we cannot afford loose bowling, as Tom Milnes has been prone to this season.
Every run is precious, but the way that the home side approached their second innings, I felt that each might be carried carefully to the other end in cupped hands, in much the same way that Emmott Robinson carried a new ball to Bill Bowes between overs before the war, so as not to risk dropping it and losing precious shine.
Six successive maidens, then a last ball wicket to Jeevan Mendis, the key one of Jacques Rudolph. Wow.
IF we don't win, then Mendis won't have done his job and you would have to say that a clutch of senior Derbyshire cricketers have completely misread the wicket. Me too, because what I was watching today seemed at odds to the radio commentators, who couldn't understand the way we were batting. We approached the innings like a reduced over run chase, evident from the time that Billy Godleman hit 27 at quicker than a run-a-ball. Wayne Madsen hit three fours and was then out, but no one looked comfortable against either seam or spin. The players had quite patently judged it a track to play a few shots, before the inevitable one that would get you came along.
Luis Reece, who survived a couple of big appeals but played a crucial innings of 55. was eighth out to a ball that exploded off the pitch, but Jeevan Mendis, in his last innings for us (at least for now) made a bucolic 27 from 15 balls that took the lead past 200, a figure of at least psychological value, probably much more than that.
Was it a great batting display? No, it wasn't, but there were mitigating circumstances. I tweeted this afternoon that a lead of 200 would win us the game and I stand by that.
Put another way, I'll have serious concern over the bowling if we don't win tomorrow.
And I know which skipper I would sooner be, going to bed tonight.