Leus du Plooy’s unbeaten century, and a well-made 90 from Anuj Dal, helped Derbyshire to 283 all out on Day One against Durham in the LV= County Championship.
Chris Rushworth was irrepressible after Durham opted to bowl first in sweltering conditions. He rose to the occasion to hold the visitors in check with a perfect line and length, despite a brilliant century from Du Plooy. After a flurry of wickets, the left-hander rebuilt the Derbyshire innings with a stand of 166 with Dal, who produced a fine knock of 90, to frustrate the home side.
However, Rushworth returned with the new ball in the evening session to turn the momentum of the day with three wickets before debutant Stanley McAlindon cleaned up the tail to bowl out Derbyshire, leaving Du Plooy stranded on 122 not out.
Durham captain Scott Borthwick made a bold decision to field first in the heat and sunshine at the Riverside. But, Rushworth would reward his skipper and his team-mates with his best first spell of the term. The seamer found life in the pitch to trouble the Derbyshire openers, removing Luis Reece with inswinger lbw for five. Tom Mackintosh on debut behind the stumps then produced a brilliant diving catch to his left to hand Rushworth his second wicket as Billy Godleman departed for only three.
Durham capitalised on the absence of Shan Masood, who left the Derbyshire camp to join up with the Pakistan Test squad, reducing the visitors to 30 for three when Ben Raine found Wayne Madsen’s outside edge. Brooke Guest and Du Plooy stabilised matters before lunch with a stand of a 55, stymieing Durham’s charge.
A refreshed Rushworth broke the partnership by bowling Guest for 29 and then cleaned up Hilton Cartwright’s off-stump for a first-ball duck. Dal survived the hat-trick ball and endured a close shave on seven, narrowly missing his stumps with an inside edge.
Du Plooy and Dal would dig in for the rest of the session as the pitch flattened out in the baking heat at Chester-le-Street. Chances were at a premium for the home side amid solid batting led by Du Plooy, who posted his fourth half-century of the campaign. Dal was more fluent at the other end, passing fifty for the fourth time of the season from only 79 balls with six boundaries to his name.
The two players worked their way past the century partnership, becoming the first Derbyshire players to muster a hundred stand for the sixth wicket against Durham. Du Plooy’s hard work was rewarded when he notched his first century of the campaign by cutting Liam Trevaskis to the fence, but Dal could not join his team-mate with three figures following the arrival of new ball.
Rushworth bounded in from the Lumley End and claimed two wickets in two balls for the second time of the day. Dal could only fend an outside edge through to Mackintosh before Alex Thomson suffered the same fate. McAlindon would end the day with two moments to remember on his first-class debut, removing Sam Conners to claim his first scalp and Toby Pettman to end the visitors’ innings.
Leus du Plooy said: “It was a pity how the day ended because I was eyeing 350 for us when I was batting with Anuj Dal. It just shows you that there is something in the wicket if you bowl it in the right areas like Chris Rushworth did, he was excellent today.
“There seems to be quite a lot of movement with the new ball, every time I’ve played Rushworth here, he bowls extremely well. He knows how to get the best out of the pitch and hopefully our bowlers can do the same.
“It has been a long time since I scored a hundred in England. There was a lot of relief and emotion when I got over the line. I hope it will open the floodgates.”
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