On an unsettled day at Derby, two sides showed that despite the gap between them in points on the table, they are fairly evenly matched. Surrey put on a half-decent batting display while Derbyshire put on a half-decent bowling display, with some dropped catches for good measure, and at the day’s end the hosts may just have their noses ahead.
With a lovely green pitch on display, Derbyshire made the decision to hit the field first in order that Mark Footitt and Tony Paladino could take full advantage. Surrey’s openers were clued up to the plan and kept things steady, albeit slow, as they fended off the new ball.
With a change of bowling came Tom Taylor, who got the ball to move about quite unpredictably. Wayne White joined him at the other end and the two sacrificed a handful of boundaries, but eventually got their reward when the dangerous Arun Harinath was caught behind off the bowling of White for 35. Zafar Ansari went in the following over for 13, caught at second slip off Taylor.
The wickets fell at a fairly good pace, despite a couple of partnerships forming. At one point, Surrey lost a mini flurry of three wickets for three runs in 12 balls.
The strongest pairing was the seventh wicket stand between Gary Wilson and Gareth Batty, constituting 80 runs. Batty was dropped by Shiv Thakor on 13* and went on to reach 41. Wilson, who was dropped on 29*, reached 65 before he was lbw to White and Surrey were nine wickets down for 238.
With Wilson gone and just the one wicket left, it was not long before it was all over. Tim Linley was caught behind for no run, leaving the visitors all out for 239. Linley was wicketkeeper Tom Poynton’s fifth catch of the innings.
Wayne White finished the innings with three wickets for 43 runs, while Footitt finished with three for 74 runs. Taylor, who went off and on a couple of times through calf trouble, finished the innings with two wickets for 30.
In reply, Ben Slater and Billy Godleman tried to see the evening out by keeping things steady, but Godleman was duped by big Luke Fletcher in the sixth over and found himself caught behind for ten. Hamish Rutherford, on first-class debut for the Falcons, joined Slater in the middle and the two set about calmly rebuilding.
The plan worked, and the hosts reached stumps with no more wickets down and with 64 runs on the board. Trailing by just 175, they might be just ahead but if tomorrow carries on in this evenly matched way, this game could still go either way.