LV=CC REPORT: Essex vs Derbyshire 2015

Wednesday 17th June 2015
Written by Danny Painter

A Wayne Madsen century was not enough to stop Derbyshire from tasting defeat at the hands of Essex in the LV= County Championship match at Chelmsford.

An overcast Day One made more a difficult first innings for Derbyshire and they were bowled out for 148 despite scores from Shiv Thakor (44) and Wayne White (38 not out).

Essex took control of the match and scored 473 with England captain Alastair Cook top-scoring with 80 despite Wayne White returning 6-113 – his second six-wicket haul in as many games.

Madsen scored his first first-class century of the season alongside Chesney Hughes who scored 80 but regular wickets fell to bowl Derbyshire out for 294 and hand Essex victory by an innings and 31 runs.

This match started on a miserable, overcast, humid morning when it was clear that the toss was going to be an important factor. Unfortunately for Derbyshire, Essex won the toss and chose to field first. The floodlights remained on all day and for the first part of the day the ball moved extravagantly and sometimes bounced more than might be expected.

After 10.1 overs Derbyshire had slipped to a sorry position – 25 for five – a position from which they were unlikely to recover. Shiv Thakor and Wayne White decided that stroke-play was the best way forward and they both scored almost a run a ball as they added 60 in nine overs. Tom Poynton also hit boldly for a short time, but Derbyshire were dismissed for 148 from only thirty-five overs.

By the time Essex started their innings at 3.20pm, the clouds had lifted and the sun could several times be seen for short periods. Conditions for batting had certainly improved, but Derbyshire’s bowlers made the Essex openers work hard for their runs and the run-rate was restricted for a long time. It took Essex fifteen overs more than their opponents before they overtook Derbyshire’s score.

England’s Test captain, Alastair Cook, and Nick Browne took the score to 108 without loss before the umpires finished play early – at 6.10pm – with thirteen overs still to be bowled because the light had deteriorated so much. Next morning, when we were blessed with warm sunshine and conditions for batting were even better, White trapped Browne lbw with the score on 134 and forty-five minutes later Wes Durston bowled Cook with a near-perfect arm-ball.

Derbyshire persevered and kept the run-rate below three runs an over for a long time, but a succession of Essex batsmen took advantage of the situation although none of them went on to make the large score which they might have felt that they should. When the close of play came on the second day Essex had reached 449 for eight and had played themselves into a position from which they were strong favourites to win the game, most likely in three days

On the third morning Essex added 24 runs in twenty minutes before White finished the innings with his second successive six-wicket haul in two innings, his last victim being the Essex captain, Foster, who was safely caught by Billy Godleman on the third man boundary. So Derbyshire started their second innings 325 runs in arrears and almost immediately they lost Ben Slater whose confidence and luck seemed to have deserted him in recent weeks.

A second wicket fell with the score on thirteen, and this brought together Chesney Hughes and Wayne Madsen. They stayed together for forty-three overs with Madsen looking in particularly good touch, and a face-saving recovery seemed almost inevitable. It came as something of a surprise when Hughes was bowled by Bopara for 80 from 149 balls, but Durston kept Madsen company for forty minutes until the tea interval. With the score on 218 for three there was every hope that Derbyshire would see out the evening session and start the fourth day in a position from which they could make the home team work extra-hard.

Essex had by now abandoned their preferred option of a spin attack, and resorted to a medium-pace alternative. After Bopara had beaten Hughes, Napier and Ryder slowed the scoring rate and managed to make the old ball move in the air. What had looked a promising position soon became anything but, as Derbyshire’s last six wickets fell, rather too meekly, to these two bowlers.

Wayne Madsen had batted beautifully for 163 balls for his 112, the only century of the match, and will no doubt have felt that he deserved better. Derbyshire were beaten with five overs of the day’s allocation still remaining, and thus took only two bowling points from the match. Even though Essex had had the huge advantage of winning the toss they had probably played the better cricket overall and deserved their win, although perhaps not by so wide a margin.

Derbyshire 148 (35 overs) (SJ Thakor 44, WA White 38*; JA Porter 4 for 28, GR Napier 2 for 32, JD Ryder 2 for 55) and 294 (84 overs) (WL Madsen 112, CF Hughes 80, WJ Durston 28, SL Elstone 24; GR Napier 4 for 64, JD Ryder 3 for 26, JA Porter 2 for 32)

Essex 473 (138.5 overs) (AN Cook 80, JS Foster 72, NLJ Browne 60, RS Bopara 57, JS Ryder 52, T Westley 43, GR Napier 35, RN ten Doeschate 20; WA White 6 for 113, WJ Durston 2 for 68)

Essex (23 points) beat Derbyshire (2) by an innings and 31 runs

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