Derbyshire batsman Wes Durston’s pre-season dominance over Nottinghamshire continued as the East Midlands rivals traded blows at the County Ground today.
The Derbyshire all-rounder followed his recent unbeaten Barbados hundred against the Trent Bridge county with a fine half-century, scored under the most testing of circumstances, as the home side closed on 104-2 in reply to Nottinghamshire’s 173-5 declared.
Derbyshire were buoyed ahead of their latest pre-season fixture by the news that Shivnarine Chanderpaul had arrived in the UK.
The West Indian international has the option to bat on Day 2, but Nottinghamshire boasted an all international opening partnership of their own as they batted first under pleasant spring sunshine at the County Ground.
Australia international Ed Cowan and England limited-overs specialist Alex Hales made slow early progress in the face of a disciplined new ball performance from Tony Palladino (6-2-9-0) and Tim Groenewald (6-3-9-0); each of whom conceded just nine from their opening spell of six overs.
The score had reached 33 without loss from 18.2 overs when Jonathan Clare (6-3-13-2) toppled Cowan’s off-stump for 13. And the Burnley-born all-rounder had two in two balls after Samit Patel was strangled down the leg-side first ball.
The visitors were 36-3 when Mark Turner (6-3-7-1) trapped Rikki Wessels lbw for three in the very next over. And a further 32 runs were added prior to the lunch interval before Hales’ patient innings of 34 came to an end shortly after the interval at 75-4.
But the Nottinghamshire middle-order duo of Chris Read (54*) and Stephen Mullaney (54) counter-attacked impressively as the visitors reached a declaration total of 173-5 by the end of the 50th over. Durston (3.5-0-43-1) had Mullaney caught on the midwicket boundary off the final ball of the innings.
The exemplary performances of Palladino, Groenewald, Clare and Turner were had given the home side clear reasons to be cheerful.
Derbyshire would quickly find, however, that batting against the new ball was perilous and Wayne Madsen (3) fenced an Ajmal Shahzad snorter to Hales at first slip with the score on nine.
Durston and Billy Godleman then showed tremendous concentration to battle through the new ball and share a second wicket partnership of 95 in 31 overs before the close.
Their first boundary took well over an hour as Nottinghamshire’s seam attack of Shahzad, Luke Fletcher, Andy Carter and Andre Adams kept it painfully tight early on in distinctly bowler friendly conditions.
The shackles was later lifted, however, as Godleman struck six fours in his 41 not out off 122 deliveries while Durston struck three fours and three sixes in his 58 off 88 balls; an innings that ended, caught at long-off off Patel, to the very last ball of the day.
Play will recommence at 11am tomorrow with free entry and car parking for all spectators.
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