A brilliant exhibition of counter-attacking batting by Leus du Plooy and Haider Ali halted Yorkshire’s victory charge in its tracks and rescued Derbyshire on the second day of the LV=Insurance County Championship match at Chesterfield.
Derbyshire’s decision to move Ali down the order proved to be inspired as the Pakistani opener scored his first century for the county and shared an unbroken record-breaking fifth wicket stand with du Plooy.of 231 from 311 balls.
They had come together with Derbyshire heading for defeat at 17 for 4 after Dawid Malan’s 106 guided Yorkshire to 353 and a lead of 242 with spinner Mark Watt taking a career-best 5 for 83.
But du Plooy’s 96 and Ali’s 129 lifted the home side to 248 for 4 and a lead of six when bad light followed by an electrical storm ended play with 10 overs left in the day.
Yorkshire had looked set for an even bigger lead until the dismissal of Malan sparked a collapse that saw the last five wickets fall for 28 runs.
Malan completed his second hundred of the season from 130 balls but when he failed to get enough on a lofted drive at Watts, Suranga Lakmal took off to his left at mid off to hold a brilliant catch.
Lakmal hurt his right elbow when he fell but was able to take the second new ball although it was the spinners who did the damage.
Dom Bess was bowled as he pushed out at Alex Thomson and after dispatching Watts for a big six over long on, Jordan Thompson drilled the left-armer to mid on.
Matthew Revis edged a big drive at Ben Aitchison before Watts snared his fifth victim when Fisher drove to long off on the stroke of lunch.
Yorkshire’s advantage was still a substantial one and it looked more than enough when Derbyshire’s top order folded for the second time in the match.
Coad struck in his second over from the Pavilion end when a full length ball beat Harry Came’s defensive push and Luis Reece went in the next over.
Fisher trapped Reece on the crease and Wayne Madsen went without scoring after he pushed out at Coad and was caught at first slip.
When Fisher found the outside edge of Matt Lamb’s bat, a two day finish looked on the cards but after an uncomfortable start, du Plooy and Ali counter-attacked to put Yorkshire on the back foot.
Bess came in for heavy punishment with Ali coming down the pitch to drive the off-spinner for six and du Plooy swept him for his 10th four to reach 50 off 61 balls.
Ali forced Revis behind square to go to his half-century from 60 balls and when Coad returned to the attack, he dispatched him for three fours in the over.
Bess was launched down the ground for another six and by tea, the partnership was 150 in 29 overs with the arrears now down to 75.
It had been a spirited response to what looked a hopeless position and it was Yorkshire who now had some problems to solve.
They slowed the scoring rate at the start of the last session but there were few signs of the breakthrough Yorkshire were desperate for.
Ali swept Bess for his 16th four to reach an outstanding century and then opened up by taking four boundaries in an over from the spinner.
The pair passed Derbyshire’s previous highest fifth wicket stand against Yorkshire of 184 by John Eggar and Alan Revill at Bradford in 1949 and when the weather closed in, it was the visitors who were relieved to get off the field.
Derbyshire spinner Mark Watt said: “It was nice to pick up a few wickets and get us back in the game
“I don’t mind players trying to hit me for six, I don’t mind players coming at me, it brings me into the game, I would rather someone trying to hit me for six than patting it back all day.
“I don’t want to get too far ahead of ourselves but if we can get another 100 to 200 we will be in a good position.”
On the stand between Leus du Plooy and Haider Ali, he said: “They looked so solid, they saw off the new ball and then it became a lot easier so credit to them.”
Vitality Blast 2023: Be Bold, Be Derbyshire
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Malan and Tattersall took the visitors to a batting point before the latter was caught and bowled off a leading edge by Reece but when rain arrived shortly after 6pm, Yorkshire were already in a strong position.