Hosts on top after tough Day One

Thursday 13th April 2023
Photography by: David Griffin, written by ECB Reporters Network

Half-centuries from Sol Budinger, Lewis Hill and Colin Ackermann saw Leicestershire lay the foundations for a big first innings score after being put in on a shortened first day of their LV Insurance county championship fixture against Derbyshire.

Bowling first was an understandable decision on the part of Derbyshire skipper Leus du Plooy after play could not start until early afternoon due to a wet outfield at Grace Road.

But although Leicestershire lost Rishi Patel for just 8, caught at second slip by Wayne Madsen after edging a Ben Aitchison delivery that may have bounced slightly more than the batter expected, Budinger had already shown there were no demons in the pitch.

The former Notts batter hit three fours in the first over he faced and continued to go for his shots, thumping eleven fours and a six in going to a first-class best 72 before top-edging an attempted pull to mid-on.

Hill, playing rather more circumspectly, was then joined by Ackermann in putting together an unbroken partnership of 141 for the third wicket, offering no chances as the visitors toiled in a bitterly cold wind.

Both sides could be said to have come into this match with something to prove. Leicestershire that their remarkable win against Yorkshire last week – the county’s first first-class victory at Headingley since 1910 – was a genuine indication of progress, as opposed to the flash in the pan cynics suggested: Derbyshire that their unexpected defeat at Worcestershire was a consequence of over-confidence as much as under-performance, and therefore correctable.

A wet – in some places close to muddy – outfield meant that although the morning was dry and sunny, no play was possible throughout the morning session. Umpires Tom Lungley and Neil Pratt eventually decided play could commence at 2.15, and though rain clouds skirted the ground throughout the rest of the day, 63 overs proved possible.

Budinger, playing only his ninth first-class innings, hit the ball wonderfully cleanly from the off, and with Hill playing an anchor role at three, Ackermann also unfurled a series of fine drives and cuts, passing 50 for the third time in as many innings this season.

With Peter Handscomb, Wiaan Mulder and Rehan Ahmed – who before play received his full Leicestershire cap, the first Foxes player do so after being capped for England – among those to come, the home side will already be hoping to build a big enough score to bat only once in the match.

Derbyshire bowler Sam Conners: “That was a tough day, all the bowlers struggled for a bit of consistency, but it’s only day one and we’ll fight really hard tomorrow morning.

“It was still a bit wet in the run-ups, but that’s not an excuse. There’s a little bit in the track if you hit the right areas and build pressure, it’s maybe a touch on the slow side, especially if you’re short of a length, but pressure is the key and we probably didn’t do that well enough today.”

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