On a pitch that offered just a little spin and occasional variable bounce, Warwickshire had to work hard to bowl out Derbyshire for 318 on the first day of their Specsavers County Championship match. Warwickshire reached 32-1 in reply, leaving honours even at the day’s end.
Derbyshire owed much to a classy innings of 144 by Wayne Madsen. He batted for 203 balls and hit 15 fours. He was especially strong on the sweep (both orthodox and reverse) and, overall, looked like a man who thoroughly knows his own game, as well he might with over 10,000 first class runs behind him at an average nudging 40.
When he was on 82, he suffered a painful blow on the jaw by Henry Brookes, the 18-year-old Warwickshire pace bowling prodigy and, five runs later, he edged Jeetan Patel through the hands of Jonathan Trott at slip. Otherwise, it was an assured and untroubled display.
Brookes and Patel took the bowling honours with four wickets apiece. Patel looked pleased to have found a captain who will let him bowl all day and reeled off 22 overs on the trot. They included the one full toss that he allows himself annually and he was the main victim of Madsen’s sweeping skills. But he accounted for Luis Reece and Alex Hughes before lunch and then, later in the day, removed the promising Matt Critchley lbw for 30. He also had Viljoen caught by the ever-reliable Tim Ambrose.
When, towards the end of the Derbyshire innings, Patel injured his hand, the whole of Edgbaston held its breath. But he seemed relatively unscathed by the experience and finished with 4-94 off his 27 overs.
In just his third first-class match, Brookes produced career-best figures of 4-63. He is tall and generates plenty of pace. With the usual proviso that he needs to stay fit, he would seem to have limitless potential.
Talking of fitness, the ten-wicket hero of Warwickshire’s win over Northants, Ryan Sidebottom, pulled up early in his tenth over and left the field with a side strain. So it was just as well that young Brookes came to the party.
Derbyshire made it over the 300 mark thanks to the support that Madsen received from Gary Wilson and Duanne Olivier. Wilson added 84 for the fifth wicket with Madsen and Olivier put on 67 for the ninth wicket, finishing unbeaten with 40.
At the end of the day, as the earlier sunshine disappeared and the floodlights came on, Warwickshire endured an uncomfortable 12 overs.
Olivier removed Dom Sibley thanks to a stunning right-handed slip catch by Matt Critchley. And just to prove that they, too, have young bowlers of potential, Derbyshire introduced 17-year-old off-spinner Hamidullah Qadri as well as 21-year-old Critchley with his leg spin to finish the day.
Warwickshire’s 32-1 leaves the match well poised. With three days of fine weather forecast, a fascinating contest is in the offing.