After the high excitement of Martin Guptill’s boundary-fest yesterday the game returned to normality at Bristol today.
In a hard-fought day’s cricket Gloucestershire, set 270 to make Derbyshire bat again,were 253/6 at the close, still 17 runs short of their initial target. On the final day it will be a battle for the home side, with their only remaining recognised batsman, Hamish Marshall, at the crease at the close on 48 not out. With the promised rain now less likely to appear it seems that Derbyshire will record their first win of their Championship campaign tomorrow.
This morning Derbyshire resumed on their overnight score of 511/8 and batted on for 10 overs until their 18 year old wicket keeper Harvey Hosein was caught behind off Liam Norwell for 61, his highest first-class score. It was a highly creditable effort from the Chesterfield-born youngster in his first full season for the county.
Like many wicketkeepers he appears neat and well organised at the crease and played particularly well off his pads. His departure signalled the Derbyshire declaration leaving Gloucestershire to total 270 to make the Midlanders bat again.
As in the previous two days the pitch did not seem to offering the Derbyshire opening bowlers Mark Footitt and Tony Palladino excessive movement although Footitt moved one away from Chris Dent’s probing bat sufficiently for the left-hander to offer an easy catch to Hosein for just two.
This was a disappointment for the home county as it was Dent who played the major part in the rearguard effort in their first match at Northampton to save the match when Gloucestershire batted last. Will Tavaré and Gareth Roderick progressed without too much trouble to lunch which was taken at 47/1 with Roderick on 27 and Tavaré on 14.
During the afternoon session Gloucestershire lost three more wickets to take their score to 156/4 at tea. The highlights of the afternoon were some splendid batting from Roderick and an excellent spell of fast-medium bowling from Palladino from the Pavilion end. It was Roderick’s fourth Championship half-century in four innings this season. Here he showed promise of the highest class with his strong bottom-hand driving a particular feature.
He was unfortunate to be out to the second ball of a new spell from Tom Taylor, misjudging a pull shot and dragging a ball on to his stumps. His 75 was scored off 119 balls with 13 fours. The only surprise was that he did not go on a complete his century. Peter Handscomb soon followed, thin edging Palladino to wicket-keeper Hosein for 14.
Earlier in the afternoon Palladino claimed the wicket of Will Tavaré for 45. His lbw was greeted with marked enthusiasm by the Derbyshire fielders and a robustly expressed ‘send-off’ from the bowler, suggesting that an unsuccessful appeal for a caught behind in the previous over should have been out.
In the evening session skipper Geraint Jones was superbly caught low down at second slip by the diving Guptill for 10. With the score at 171/5 a day three finish seemed a possibility but Kieran Noema-Barnett and Marshall had other ideas. The pair batted carefully to add 82 for the sixth wicket until the second new ball was taken with three overs of the day remaining. This prompted the return of Footitt returning for a final assault who had Noema-Barnett excellently caught by Guptill at leg gully.
Footit (3/34) and Palladino (2/43) were the pick of the Derbyshire bowlers on a day which provided the Midlanders’ Elite Performance Director with some satisfaction. He told the county’s website: “The pitch flattened out a bit, but I was proud of the lads for the way they kept going out there. If you do the right things you get the rewards. Martin Guptill took two great catches and with six Gloucestershire wickets down, we are still in a great position.”