Friday, 7 July 2017

Derbyshire v Durham day 4

In the end, day four was one of disappointment for Derbyshire supporters, with the county's bowlers unable to break through what I had called the previous night a long batting order.

Maybe the wicket didn't deteriorate as we hoped, or maybe we just didn't bowl well enough at key times. Certainly we didn't catch well enough (Wayne Madsen aside) and in these close games you simply cannot require to take thirteen or fourteen wickets.

Fair play to Durham, who batted splendidly and never really looked like losing, except for a brief wobble after lunch. Tahir and Qadri had long bowls and the young off-spinner again seems to have acquitted himself well, but the season-long (or is it seasons-long?) issue of seam bowling hit us again.

Gurjit Sandhu did as well as a trialist bowler could be expected to do in this game, but wouldn't have been engaged were the staff bowlers good enough or fit. Tony Palladino is having to play every game at present and will doubtless look forward to a break in the T20, when we at least have Matt Henry to spearhead the attack.

It is an area of the side that has to be addressed over the winter. The seam attack looked useful when we had Conor McKerr on loan from Surrey, as a genuine quick bowler has an impact on everyone else. Otherwise, batsmen can rock onto the front foot and lessen the effect of swing, while not worrying too much about an occasional, easily fended shorter one. The value of a fast, or faster bowler to an attack is considerable, often as effective for others, possibly more so.

And so to the T20 and tonight's opening game against Northamptonshire. I'm wary of suggesting progress this year, because none of us know the current fitness of key players and, like many of you, I have concerns about the top order and utilisation of the Powerplay.

Maybe John Wright may throw a curve ball and open with, say, Matt Critchley and Tom Wood, but until we know who is fit (and for how long..) it is hard to predict our prospects.

No team announced yet, but I can only name a handful of players who I would see as certainties, assuming fitness: Madsen, Wilson, Hughes, Tahir, Henry and Critchley. The rest are undoubtedly places up for grabs.

Yesterday's news on Shiv Thakor put an additional dampener on things and his absence, as a key member of the T20 side, will be keenly felt. Please don't comment on that particular story, as there are obviously legal niceties to be observed. Thank you.

More from me later.


Snapper said...

I posted last week suggesting the XL that played at Cardiff was the weakest batting line-up fielded by the county. The one that took the field at Chesterfield was probably weaker (we have probably fielded stronger second XLs). We were kept in the game until day four by centuries from Critchley and Hughes which I don't think anyone saw coming. Durham also were a completely different team in the second innings both in the field and batting. On day one the fielding was very sloppy and the wicket keeping as poor as I have seen for a long time but in the second innings they really turned things around. I felt sorry for Billy yesterday, he really had nowhere to go, our hopes rested totally on Tahir and the sixteen year old Qadri. I wouldn't say that Durham batted well, rather they rode their luck and hung on in. I lost count on the number of catches that went down or the false strokes and edges that didn't go to hand (everything caught or otherwise seemed to go to Wayne)
I have never entered into the wk arguments as I just feel you play your best keeper but had Smit been at first slip yesterday it may have been a closer finish.What awonderful thing hindsight is!

Anonymous said...

Notwithstanding the result that was an excellent game of cricket over all four day's.  The game ebbed and flowed and the final outcome was in doubt till after lunch on day four.  Derbyshire despite the absence of some key personnel played some good cricket and Critchley's innings along with that of Alex Hughes were the highlights.  With a bit more luck, catches taken and it could have been a different result.

The makeshift attack performed well overall considering the long list of absentees. Maybe with a fit Shiv Thakor and we could have been the victors. We were certainly short of a seamer who could make some inroads into Durham's top order.  Think that was evident when we didn't make a breakthrough on Wednesday evening or first thing in the morning.  I did think Imran Tahir would be key to success on day four and the fact that he couldn't replicate his earlier heroics was probably the main reason we fell short.  It was certainly too much to expect young Qadri to be a match winner again, however, with a little more luck he could have had a bigger impact on the outcome.  At sixteen his control of line and length is remarkable.

Strange that we almost had three centurions in the match and still ended up on the losing side.  Perhaps it highlights the fact that the rest of the batting was fragile to say the least and because of the makeup of the side the tail was long.  Having said that, l should say that Gurjit Sandhu is absolved from any criticism after his heroics with the bat in both innings.  Some of the top six could take a leaf from his book!  Early days but he offers something a little different.

This is the first time I've attended all four days of a county game for some time and l thoroughly enjoyed the excellent cricket.  The wicket was ideal giving the bowlers encouragement and batsmen opportunities provided they played carefully.  I hope Derbyshire can take some positives from this game as they head to Northants and the commencement of the T20 Blast.

Stuart, York

notoveryet said...

I missed this post last night, hence the belated comment. This was a disappointing result, given the advantages we held going into the second innings. I'm surprised, PF, that you exempt Madsen from fault on the catching, as he was the dropper in chief, with at least two catches off Qadri being missed. As I said at the start of the day, though, our second innings batting left a chink of hope for Durham where we should have been able to put the game out of Durham's reach. It's all too easy to blame bowlers in these situations, but it's our batting that has let us down time and again this season. Both at Cardiff and here, our second innings has fallen well short, and I wonder about a degree of complacency compounded of a first innings lead, bowling last on a deteriorating pitch, and having good spinners. We got away with it at Cardiff. but it caught up with us here. With hindsight, Taylor might have been more effective here than Palladino, but the length of the tail and the weaknesses in the batting mean that we couldn't have accommodated the third quick bowler, and I don't think many of us expected Palladino to be so unthreatening after his performance in Cardiff.

Finally, just a word about Hughes. My comment about him not having played a good innings all season referred to his 4 day performances, and I should perhaps have made this clear. I think I did give him due credit for the quality of his innings in this match, but it stands in very sharp contrast to every other innings I've seen him play in 4 day cricket this season. He's dug in and scratched his way to a decent score on a couple of occasions, and deserves credit for his grit and phlegmatic response to the blows he's taken in these innings. You can admire character at the same time as saying it's not enough without the runs to back it up, and to justify his continued presence in the 4 day side (as opposed to T20) this innings needs to be more than the one-off we've seen from him in previous years.