A career-best performance by Henry Brookes brought Leicestershire back down to earth as Derbyshire dominated the opening day of the LV= Insurance County Championship match at Derby.
The 23-year-old Warwickshire fast bowler marked the first game of a short loan spell by taking 6 for 20 in 12 overs, five of them maidens, to send Leicestershire tumbling from 45 without loss to 122 all out.
On his first appearance of the season, Brookes showed impressive control to record the second best figures on debut for Derbyshire who rammed home their advantage by closing on 144 for 3, a lead of 22.
Harry Came and Haider Ail shared a century opening stand and although Wiaan Mulder struck twice in an over, it was very much Derbyshire’s day.
Leicestershire’s batsmen came into the game in good form and looked set for another productive day until Brookes was brought into the attack at the City End.
Sol Budinger’s innings was bright and breezy like the weather until he launched an extravagant slash in Brookes’s second over and was caught at second slip.
It was not a distinguished shot and triggered an astonishing collapse in which five wickets fell for four runs in five overs.
Brookes and Luis Reece bowled a consistent line and length which proved too much for a team which had passed 400 on three occasions, one of them against Derbyshire at Leicester, this season.
Lewis Hill played across the second ball he faced and Rishi Patel, who had scored two centuries in his previous five innings, was bowled by one that Reece swung back in just enough.
What followed for the Foxes revived uncomfortable memories of recent summers as the innings crumbled with little resistance.
Brookes tempted Colin Ackermann into a loose drive before finding the outside edge of Mulder’s bat with a fine delivery.
Any hopes of a recovery were dashed when Reece beat Peter Handscomb with another swinging delivery to fully justify Derbyshire’s decision to bowl first.
Leicestershire’s thoughts over lunch might have turned to last September when Rehan Ahmed scored a brilliant century on this ground to save the game but the England all-rounder could not mount another rescue act this time.
Derbyshire’s bowlers renewed their intensity with Sam Conners striking in the fourth over of the afternoon session when Tom Scriven edged a firm-footed drive and Ahmed departed in the next over when he tried to glance Brookes and was caught down the leg-side.
That gave the seamer his first five wicket haul in first-class cricket and he claimed his sixth by having Michael Finan caught at short leg before Conners finished off the innings.
Brookes led Derbyshire off the field with his figures second only to Dove Gregory who took 6 for 9 on debut for the county at Old Trafford in May 1871.
Leicestershire’s bowlers could not match his accuracy and leaked runs from the start by bowling too short and wide.
Came and Ali tucked in and by tea, were only 23 runs behind but the visitors regrouped during the break and bowled much better in the final session.
Mulder made the breakthrough when he trapped Ali lbw trying to pull a ball that kept low and three balls later, straightened one to knock back Brooke Guest’s off-stump.
Came, making his first appearance of the season in place of Billy Godleman who was dropped after a pair in the previous game, was lbw to a full length ball from Finan before the umpires took the players off shortly before 6pm.
Derbyshire fast bowler Henry Brookes, on loan from Warwickshire, said: “That’s a nice little stat for the book and it’s nice to be here on loan and get a chance so I was really looking forward to today and managed to put a good performance in to top it up
“I was excited to get back on the pitch to be honest, it’s been a long time coming, I played a few games last year for Warwickshire but my fortunes with the red ball hasn’t quite been what I wanted so it was great to get the opportunity here and I loved every moment of it.
“They got off to a decent start but we bowled well as a unit, all four bowlers kept backing each other up and putting it in the right areas and it was my turn to take some wickets today.”
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