By John Brown
Derbyshire were pleased to welcome Australia A squad at the start of their short tour of England during which they will play to matches against England Lions. On the hottest day of the year so far, Australia won the toss and chose to bat first on a pitch which proved to be good for batting throughout.
Their captain, Ed Cowan, made an accomplished hundred from 113 balls, while Forrest, Bailey and Burns all hit fifties in good time so that the tourists were able to declare eleven overs after tea on the first day and give Derbyshire sixteen overs batting before the close David Wainwright bowled twenty-eight overs of left-arm spin and took three of the four wickets to fall.
Derbyshire lost Matt Lineker four overs before the end of the day, and his place was taken by Tony Palladino who helped Wayne Madsen to see their team to 57 for one at the close.
This pair survived almost an hour on the second morning before, rather surprisingly, it was Madsen who fell first as he tried to hit off-spinner Lyon over the in-field. Usman Khawaja joined Palladino to face his compatriots: at this point Palladino started to play his shots, being especially strong through the covers. He reached his fifty, only the fourth of his first-class career from eighty balls, and outscored his senior partner by some margin.
This pair added 103 for the third wicket, and Khawaja’s share had been a mere 28, but more important than this was the fact that Palladino reached his maiden first-class hundred from 113 balls (with sixteen fours): there was much joy and celebration in the Derbyshire ranks at the success of this most popular of night-watchmen. In addition he was only three runs short of scoring a hundred runs before lunch.
After Palladino was bowled, Khawaja and Wes Durston had added 72 for the fourth wicket at about a run a minute before Derbyshire declared, thus giving Australia a first innings lead of 93.
Australia had forty overs to bat before the end of the day, but they fared less well than they would have hoped against the Derbyshire bowlers. Mark Footitt started their difficulties by dismissing both openers in his opening seven-over spell. Wainwright took two more wickets, while Mark Turner and Dan Redfern, having a rare bowl while Durston protected a bruised thumb, took one each.
At 141 for six overnight Australia had to bat with caution to ensure that they gave themselves a position from which they could declare. Cowan and Starc added 73 in sixteen overs and the declaration came soon after Starc was out, well caught on the boundary by Redfern off Wainwright.
Thus Derbyshire were set 315 to win from 73 overs, but they suffered an early setback when Madsen was caught in the slips off Mitchell Johnson. Lineker and Khawaja batted sensibly in adding 92 before Lineker misjudged a drive to give a low return catch to Lyon. Redfern looked in good touch as he reached his fifty from 54 balls to follow Khawaja who had already passed that milestone in seventy-six balls.
When Durston came to the wicket there were only eighteen overs remaining, and still 119 runs needed to win, but Derbyshire had not given up the chase and kept playing their shots. As it happened wickets fell rather too quickly and, when Durston played one shot too many – 256 for eight – with seven overs remaining, Derbyshire took the sensible option and decided to play out time.
Turner was caught at short mid-wicket off only his second ball, so it was left to Chris Durham and Footitt to play out the last six overs. Despite close-set fields and aggressive bowling, they managed to survive the tense situation, so the match ended in a draw, probably a fair result to a good game of cricket in which Derbyshire probably emerged with the most credit.
Australia A 362 for 4 dec (72 overs) (EJH Cowans 109, GJ Bailey 81, JA Burns 74*, PJ Forrest 52, M Klinger 25; DJ Wainwright 3 for 133) and 221 for 7 dec (55 overs) (SPD Smith 78, MA Starc 36, EDJ Cowan 32*, MG Johnson 21; DJ Wainwright 3 for 29, MHA Footitt 2 for 52)
Derbyshire 269 for 3 (66 overs) (AP Palladino 106, UT Khawaja 56*, WJ Durston 37*, WL Madsen 34, MS Lineker 22) and 270 for 9 (73 overs) (UT Khawaja 66, DJ Redfern 56, WJ Durston 40, MS Lineker 34; NM Lyon 4 for 115, MG Johnson 3 for 47)
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