Derbyshire v Nottinghamshire, Derby, 2nd day April 25, 2013

Derbs slips let Notts away

Nottinghamshire 325 for 5 (Taylor 67*, Cowan 59, Hales 56) lead Derbyshire 256 by 69 runs

Nottinghamshire's innings in one way resembles a series of missed opportunities, given that four of their top five batsmen fell around the half-century mark - and another should have done. Collectively, though, it adds up to a chance to put more strain on the confidence of promoted Derbyshire, whose introduction to the first division is teaching them quickly that survival will be a hard-won prize.

In some respects, Derbyshire did not do too badly. The pitch, tricky for batsmen on the opening day, settled into one that played well, with good pace and carry, yet Derbyshire's bowlers for the most part kept their lines. Nottinghamshire's batting is as well-equipped as any to exploit favourable conditions, so to have allowed the scoring rate to creep only rarely above three per over was a good effort.

It was undermined by errors in the field. Two catches went down at first slip and an easy run-out went begging when James Taylor, pushing to cover, stumbled halfway down the track after Samit Patel sent him back only for Billy Godleman, taking aim from five yards as he ran in, to miss the stumps.

In terms of runs, the catches, both spilled by Wes Durston, were not especially expensive. Michael Lumb scored only 23 more after his escape, Patel 25. But these things add up psychologically. The extent of the damage done by Taylor's let-off on 41 is still to be determined.

Taylor, under pressure to prove himself after a somewhat disappointing first year with Nottinghamshire, was the third batsman to pass fifty, following Ed Cowan and Alex Hales.

Cowan, who will open for Australia this summer, is clearly acclimatising quickly in English conditions, which will only encourage criticism of Nottinghamshire for giving him the chance. He looked in the frame of mind to supplement his debut 61 against Middlesex with his first century for the county until he greeted David Wainwright's ugly long-hop - the spinner's first ball of the season -- with an equally poor shot.

His attempt to clear midwicket went horribly wrong and he was caught by a substitute fielder, revealed to be Greg Cork, an 18-year-old academy player and son of the former Derbyshire and England fast bowler Dominic, who was on the ground to witness the moment for Sky TV.

Nottinghamshire scarcely consider the Cowan complaints to be worthy of comment. In any case, it might be argued that England could draw a benefit if he can teach the naturally aggressive Hales a lesson or two about building an innings against the new ball. Hales, who has had a tendency to allow himself liberties, was a model of restraint, his 56 spanning 153 balls and including one sequence, lasting more than an hour, of 36 balls without a run.

Chris Read, Notts' captain, insists the change of approach has not come at his behest. "It is something he seems to have taken on himself," Read said. "He has made a name for himself in the Twenty20 format but he is another year older now and a bit wiser and I'm pleased to see him taking more responsibility at the top of the order. It can only hold him in good stead."

Hales succumbed ultimately to a decent ball from Tony Palladino, as did Lumb, who edged one from Jonathan Clare that moved away. Riki Wessels surrendered to the only cheap dismissal, driving loosely at Ross Whiteley, while Patel's was almost comical, his downfall caused by a complete loss of footing when Taylor changed his mind about a run to midwicket, leaving him flat on his backside and no chance of getting back as Shivnarine Chanderpaul threw in and the wicketkeeper broke the stumps, this time with a flourish.

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  • Hamish on April 26, 2013, 6:31 GMT

    @markatnotts I just realized how silly my comment sounded... I meant to say these* county trundlers as their info and records suggest. Cowan in the first notts FC game scored a sixty odd against one of the best attacks that featured meaker and Roland-jones. And a sixty against these lesser bowlers. He's good in the sense that he'll see off the new ball almost invariably (this is why him and Warner are a good complimented opening partnership) but he always gets out after making a start and not going on with it. And this is what annoys all aus fans. It should be much easier to convert a start in a FC game anyway, despite the early season pitches.

    I still think the experience is very good though,(pity that khawaja and Hughes are no longer playing) and I do rate Cowan, so two half centuries in three county innings is good news.

    RE Rogers; I've been wanting him in for so long and was estatic when he was selected! His experience will be so imperative. And he will bat at three.

  • Mark on April 25, 2013, 21:49 GMT

    @Mitty2, Derbyshire may have a modest attack by first division standards but overall this is quite possibly the toughest first class cricket he has ever played. Justin Langer post Test retirement even admitted his years at Somerset were the toughest he had ever experienced even though he produced the goods. Still I am impressed by the guy having seen him in Tests for Oz, and opening at Trent Bridge is also a tough assignment early season. He will have another crack at that next week. Rogers is a shrewd superb pick for Oz and should be in the top three.

  • Hamish on April 25, 2013, 19:50 GMT

    Once again Cowan wastes a start. If he can't convert his starts in first class - especially against the county trundlers - how is he going to convert his starts in the ashes? Hopefully Rogers' experience and knowledge can help alleviate the pressure that Cowan will be feeling.