In less than half a day’s cricket, before bad light and rain followed by sleet brought play to an end at 2.40 on day three, Warwickshire built up a strong position against Derbyshire. The visitors are only 39 runs ahead with five second innings wickets already gone.
Warwickshire owed their dominance to a magnificent spell of fast medium bowling by Oliver Hannon-Dalby. Either side of lunch, he delivered nine overs of impeccable line and length, regularly moving the ball away from the bat. He claimed five wickets for 29 runs. Once regarded as mainly a T20 bowler, he has achieved five of his career total of eight five wicket hauls in the last two years in just 18 first-class games.
32 behind on first innings, Derbyshire began their second effort in frenetic fashion. Luis Reece, who had grafted so hard first time around, played skittishly. Three wild attempted drives were followed by a fatal edge behind.
Anuj Dal and Leus du Plooy completed wretched matches. Both were lbw to Hannon-Dalby. Du Plooy fell first ball. He completed a pair, always a miserable experience but possibly even more so when you have two noughts in the middle of your name to remind you. Billy Godleman showed little sign of wanting to dig in, so it was no surprise when he edged a good length ball, again from Hannon-Dalby, to be well caught at third slip by Rob Yates.
The pitch still offered some help to the bowlers. However, the Derbyshire batsmen seemed to have developed a death wish or possibly a desire for the comfort of a warm changing room when the outside temperature was below that recommended for a refrigerator.
After lunch, Wayne Madsen and Matt Critchley, whilst continuing to play shots, at last began to show some application. But even Critchley, who in both innings has looked like a class batting act, played and missed three times in a row to Hannon-Dalby. The pair added 37 before Madsen couldn’t avoid edging another excellent delivery from Hannon-Dalby that lifted and left him. Rob Yates took a comfortable catch to give the bowler his fifth wicket.
Warwickshire had begun the day 20 runs in arrears. Luis Reece soon bowled Tim Bresnan with a full length delivery before Matt Lamb took Warwickshire into the lead and reached his half century with the same shot, an extra cover drive off Matt Critchley’s leg spin.
Lamb eventually fell to Critchley, slashing at a long hop that he edged to slip. Wayne Madsen caught a ball that might otherwise have rearranged his face. Warwickshire’s attempts to build a big lead foundered as Michael Cohen claimed both Craig Miles and Danny Briggs, and Liam Norwell was lbw to Critchley.
At 221 all out, Warwickshire’s lead of 32 looked at that stage to be useful but not decisive.
Warwickshire will be hoping that the weather relents for long enough tomorrow to give them time to clinch a win. And Oliver Hannon-Dalby can dream of the possibility of becoming the first Warwickshire bowler since Jack Bannister in 1959 to take all ten wickets in an innings.