Dal takes five on entertaining Day One

Sunday 25th June 2023
Photography by: David Griffin, written by ECB Reporters Network

Anuj Dal again enjoyed himself at Worcestershire’s expense as bottom-placed Derbyshire put their injury problems in the bowling department behind them to bring about a collapse by the home side on day one of the LV=Insurance County Championship encounter at New Road.

Dal had scored a hundred and a fifty plus picking up a five-for in the corresponding fixture in 2022 after scoring a century in the match between the teams at the Incora County Ground.

He continued in that vein by returning figures of 18.3-5-45-5 as Worcestershire, who were 105-1 at one stage, were dismissed for 237 in 83.3 overs.

The Peakites were without front-line bowlers Saranga Lakmal, Zak Chappell and Sam Conners and in addition Sam Aitchison limped off after being unable to complete an over.

But Derbyshire, who signed Surrey’s Conor McKerr on loan for a third spell at the club, stuck to their task against a Worcestershire side who themselves had fitness problems.

Club Captain Brett D’Oliveira, Jack Haynes and Kashif Ali were all ruled out and it meant handing a debut to rookie pro Rehaan Edavalath in addition to Indian pace bowler Navdeep Saini.

Stand-in skipper Jake Libby continued his rich vein of form by top-scoring with 78 to take his run tally to 373 in his last three knocks.

But only fellow opener Gareth Roderick and Adam Hose offered him much substantial support.

Saini, who played Kent in the Championship last summer, struck with his first delivery to dismiss Harry Came and Derbyshire ended on 32-2 after losing Luis Reece to the final delivery of the day from Dillon Pennington.

Libby opted to bat after winning the toss and he and Roderick scored freely against the Kookaburra ball which is being used during the next two rounds of Championship matches.

They completed their third successive half century stand since joining forces at the top of the order in the previous Championship game against Sussex.

The partnership was worth 70 when Roderick (40) was bowled through the gate by Ben Aitchison with a delivery that nipped back.

The game started to swing in Derbyshire’s favour once Azhar Ali (14) was dismissed to the final delivery before lunch when he drove at Dal and was caught at slip.

Edavalath came out for his maiden innings at the start of the afternoon session but lasted only three balls before he missed a straight delivery from Dal and was lbw for nought.

Libby completed an excellent half century from 106 balls with a push through the covers for two off Dal who bowled a probing 10 over spell either side of lunch of 10-2-32-2.

Hose has been in prime form in Championship and T20- cricket and he again looked in good touch and helped Libby add 54 in untroubled fashion.

But Hose edged Potts to slip and Libby’s fine knock was brought to an end by Dal with keeper Brooke Guest holding onto the chance.

Libby has now scored 614 first class runs this summer, the third highest figure on Division Two.

Ed Pollock, recalled to the Championship side, got his head down was dismissed to the last ball before tea when he shouldered arms to Dal and was bowled.

Matthew Waite showed positive after the interval, striking Ben Aitchison for three boundaries in the first over to bring up the 200.

But he was bowled on 19 by a delivery from McKerr which nipped back a long way.

Joe Leach (3) clipped McKerr tamely into the hands of mid wicket and Baker (12) pushed forward to Luis Reece and was bowled.

Dal completed his five-for by shattering Dillon Pennington’s stumps.

Saini made the perfect start as Came offered no shot to a delivery angled into him and was bowled and then Reece edged the final delivery of the day from Pennington to first slip.

Derbyshire all-rounder Anuj Dal said: “I was very pleased to be back in the side and to be contributing. It has been a frustrating spell on the side-lines.

“I felt the ball (Kookaburra) was very different. In your hand it feels very different and the outcome on the pitch is also very different.

“What this ball is test your patience and to try and be as disciplined as you can. That is the biggest thing.

“If you look after a Dukes ball properly, it can still be swinging in the 79th over. With this one, not quite the same but it is nice to have that opportunity to play with it.

“Mickey Arthur said it was going to be a patience game and if we could string dot balls together and put pressure on their batting unit, that was our way of trying to restrict runs and to take wickets.

“The guys in their second and third spells got into a nice rhythm and as a bowling group, that is probably our best performance with the ball this season.”

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