A superb career-best unbeaten double century from Derbyshire’s Shan Masood dominated the opening day of the LV=Insurance County Championship Division Two match against Sussex at Derby.
The Pakistani opener scored a brilliant 201 from 271 balls and shared a county third wicket stand against Sussex of 236 with Wayne Madsen who was 88 not out at the close.
An injury-weakened Sussex attack failed to take a wicket after lunch as Derbyshire closed on an imposing 327 for 2.
Masood had already impressed with two half centuries in the opening match at Lord’s last week when he narrowly missed out on a hundred in the first innings.
He made no mistake this time against a largely inexperienced attack after Derbyshire won the toss and batted first on what looks to be a benign pitch.
With the exception of Steve Finn, the bowling lacked the consistency to apply any sustained pressure and Mahmood took advantage to reach 50 from only 60 balls.
Sussex stuck to their task but the only wickets to fall in the first two sessions were down to batting errors with Billy Godleman tickling a leg-glance to Mohamed Rizwan and Brooke Guest bottom-edging a pull.
But the wicket Sussex dearly wanted was Masood and, a couple of false strokes against the left arm spin of James Coles apart, he gave them little encouragement.
At lunch he was 74 from 88 balls and after the interval he moved to his century with a succession of imperious, at times dismissive, strokes on both sides of the wicket.
Sussex probably realised it was not going to be their day when Tom Haines struck Masood on the back pad but his impassioned appeal left umpire Paul Baldwin unmoved.
There were few other alarms as Masood and Madsen cruised to a 100 stand in 28 overs and by tea, Derbyshire had scored at a quicker rate than any other team in the country.
Madsen has now shared century stands with 29 different batsmen, breaking the Derbyshire record of 28 held by Kim Barnett, and he reached another milestone when he completed his 100th first-class score of 50 or more.
Although he was content to play the supporting role, he was also largely untroubled apart from when a throw struck him a painful blow on the back of the right knee.
Sussex switched Finn to the Racecourse End at the start of the final session but the runs kept flowing with Masood reaching 150 from 191 balls.
The elegant left-hander will face more challenging attacks in the weeks to come but even at this early stage, head of cricket Mickey Arthur looks to have completed a very shrewd piece of business in bringing him to the club.
The visitors at least applied the brake towards the close of a long hard day in the field but could not prevent Masood and Madsen passing Derbyshire’s previous highest third wicket stand against Sussex of 215 set by Les Townsend and Albert Alderman at Eastbourne in 1938.
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