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Nigel Gardner at Chesterfield
July 18, 2012
Derbyshire 135 for 7 (Harmison 3-49) trail Yorkshire 219 (Jaques 61) by 84 runs
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Although this has been a summer most will want to forget, it has been a decent one for Derbyshire and their followers. The sun has been obscured by rain clouds but this "unfashionable" county have basked in the warm glow of County Championship success.
It has been 13 seasons since Derbyshire sat down at domestic cricket's top table but they showed why they went into this contest with a 25 point lead in Division Two. Until that is, Yorkshire and Steve Harmison came roaring back in the final session
Harmison had endured another chastening day on his second appearance for Yorkshire who had collapsed in startling fashion on a pitch that is a decent one to bat. Harmison swung the bat breezily to help his new team-mates to a batting point but when he ran in from the Lake End with the ball in his hand, the radar was clearly not functioning.
His fourth ball was a wide and there was one more before his opening over ended. There was another in his next as the ball shot away down to the leg side to the boundary and when Jaques took him out of the firing line, he had bowled five wides and two no balls in three overs which cost 27. The fact that Derbyshire's bowlers did not concede a wide or a no ball between them made it even worse.
But how quickly the tide of fortune can turn in this game and he responded in the best possible fashion when Phil Jaques brought him back in the 27th over. It proved an inspired piece of captaincy as he took 3 for 0 in 11 balls although it has to be said, Derbyshire gave Harmison generous assistance.
First Jon Clare was tempted into a rash drive at a ball he should have left alone and then in his next over, Wes Durston chased one he should have ignored and edged to second slip. It was hardly vintage stuff but after all his recent problems, Harmison will not mind how the wickets come.
As Yorkshire opener Joe Root said: "They might not have been the most pleasing-on-the-eye balls that got the wickets but the pace he was bowling at obviously put a lot of doubt in the batsmen's minds. You could see they weren't comfortable so you've got to give him a bit of credit."
At least his third victim was the result of a decent bouncer which former Yorkshire batsman David Wainwright helped on its way into the hands of Moin Ashraf who did well to take the catch and stay inside the ropes.
By the time stumps were drawn at 7pm, 17 wickets had fallen but rather than convene a pitch panel, the ECB should summon a batting inspector to delve into what unfolded on the opening day of this top of the table clash.
Yorkshire's position after lunch matched the unusual sight of blue skies over picturesque Queen's Park as Jaques and former Derbyshire batsman Gary Ballance proceeded in untroubled fashion and appeared to be setting the visitors up for a score of around 350. But all that changed in the 40th over as Mark Turner tore in from the Lake End to instigate a startling collapse that saw the visitors crash from 175 for 3 to 219 all out on the stroke of tea.
Turner took the first three of those seven wickets to fall to fully justify the decision to give him his first Championship appearance of the season in place of a batsman, Chesney Hughes, who was originally down on the scorecard to play.
Yorkshire appeared to be in even more trouble as Derbyshire replied by moving to 43 without loss but then they also hit the self-destruct button to leave the visitors holding a slight advantage at the end of a remarkable day.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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