After another hard-fought day’s cricket, Warwickshire need another 70 runs to defeat Derbyshire with nine wickets in hand. They should, barring miracles, wrap up victory before lunch on the final day
At the start of the day, Warwickshire’s last four wickets added 64 runs to give the Bears a lead of 121 on the first innings. Matt Lamb was unable to add to his career-best 79, falling to a Godleman slip catch off Duanne Olivier. Tim Ambrose’s steady 40 was a valuable contribution in seeing the total over 400 and the lead over 100. Olivier laboured long and hard for his three wickets.
Warwickshire then relentlessly worked their way through the Derbyshire batting order. Apart from some slow spin, the pitch offered very little to the bowlers so the wickets had to be earned the hard way.
With Ryan Sidebottom unable to bowl because of a side strain and Will Rhodes given only four overs, the Bears prevailed with just a three-man attack; and the wickets were shared by Henry Brookes (4-56) and Jeetan Patel (6-76). Brookes took 8-119 in the match and Patel claimed 10-170, only his fourth ten-wicket match haul in his long and distinguished career.
18-year old Brookes, a rare prospect, took two wickets in his first over, skittling Luis Reece who played no shot and then capturing the key scalp of Wayne Madsen when Patel dived forward at mid-off.
Ben Slater and Alex Hughes steadied the Derbyshire ship with a stand of 88 either side of lunch. But as soon as Jeetan Patel started bowling, it was clear that he was in for the long haul. He trapped Hughes lbw on the back foot and then tortured Billy Godleman. Godleman survived an lbw shout first ball, was almost caught second ball and then, when he escaped to Henry Brookes’ end, endured another lbw shout. When Ian Bell caught him at slip, he retired with what must surely have been the worst duck of the season so far. Out for one in the first innings, the Derbyshire captain has had a miserable match.
Ben Slater reached a hard-earned fifty before tea, when Derbyshire were 126-4, just five runs ahead.
In the final session, Derbyshire gradually subsided, fortified only by a hard-hitting 44 from Hardus Viljoen who struck two consecutive leg-side sixes off Patel before being last man out. Slater was caught off bat and pad, Gary Wilson and Matt Critchley both were trapped on the back foot by Patel and Olivier was similarly hit in front of his stumps by Brookes. Qadri holed out tamely to Patel at mid-off.
Overall, Derbyshire owed their downfall to sustained pressure from Patel and Brookes, supported by the accurate but less threatening Chris Wright.
After the early loss of Will Rhodes and a few alarms for both Dom Sibley and Ian Bell, Warwickshire were glad to close with just one wicket down but will be confident of wrapping up a win tomorrow.