Tremlett silver lining as Derbs make hay
Surrey 35 for 1 trail Derbyshire 452 (Madsen 152, Chanderpaul 129, Tremlett 5-95) by 417 runs
This was Derbyshire's day by some distance, the achievement of Wayne Madsen and Shivnarine Chanderpaul in setting a partnership record against Surrey underpinned by Richard Johnson's maiden half-century for the county, but there was at least one encouraging subtext for Surrey, who are no closer to breaking their duck for the Championship season.
It came in the form of five wickets for Chris Tremlett, who had not taken that many in a single first-class innings since he did so for England against Sri Lanka in June 2011, and never before for Surrey. The 6ft 7ins fast bowler took the wicket that captured the Ashes in Australia in January 2011 but has been ravaged by injuries in the interim, requiring operations for back and knee problems. His return to Surrey's Championship side last month was only his second appearance in the competition in 21 months.
Surrey are nursing him back carefully, which is understandable in the circumstances. England are monitoring his progress but are unlikely to call on him any time soon, unless there is an exceptional run of injuries. At 31, and with a Test record of 49 wickets at 26.75, Tremlett is eager to believe that he has another Ashes series ahead of him but if he is to face Australia again you suspect it will be next winter rather than this summer. Mindful, perhaps, that he broke down after one comeback match last summer, precipitating further surgery in September, he accepts that patience is vital.
"I'd like to get back to where I was before the injuries and England is at the back of my mind but it is a matter of not getting ahead of myself," he said. "I feel I'm going in the right direction. It is nice to get five wickets but the important thing is bowling overs and hoping my body stays strong."
Tremlett, who had bowled Chesney Hughes with his fifth delivery on Thursday, did the most damage with the second new ball as Wes Durston and Ben Slater, a left-hander making his Derbyshire debut, edged deliveries that left them off the pitch. Tremlett bowled tailender Mark Turner and finished off the Derbyshire innings when wicketkeeper Johnson's fine 72 ended with a catch at first slip.
Yet in the context of the day, it was a minor victory for Surrey. If there was an opportunity to acquire some impetus as another year of under-achievement beckons, it was in this match, against a side struggling to make the transition to Division One cricket, particularly with Ricky Ponting in the dressing room and offering encouragement from the slip cordon.
However, they are a stubborn bunch, Derbyshire, unwilling to accept that they are destined merely to be whipping boys, determined that promotion will be a genuine learning experience. Resuming at 232 for 2, they built so handsomely on Shivnarine Chanderpaul's first-day century as to almost double their score.
The Guyanese batsman had been labouring with a heavy cold for most of his innings and he was less fluent yesterday morning, although there was handsome consolation. Wayne Madsen, equally impressive as the two built a partnership ultimately worth 265 runs, outscored his partner and was setting his own targets high when Chanderpaul was surprised by a short ball from Stuart Meaker and sent the ball looping off the glove to Ponting in the gully.
Madsen went on to reach 152, picking up boundaries with impressive fluency, 17 in all. Surrey's bowlers again could not hit a testing line and length frequently enough to build pressure and Madsen, having looked so comfortable, was furious with himself when he failed to read a ball angled in by Meaker that took his off stump.
It left Derbyshire at a potentially difficult moment, 336 for 6 having been 294 for 2. Had they fallen away it would not have been an unusual development. In the event, they failed to take all the batting points available but will set that disappointment against a strong position at the halfway stage of the match.
Johnson batted solidly and took few risks, aided first by David Wainwright in a stand of 59 for the seventh wicket and latterly by some eager and enterprising batting from the tail. His 72 equalled his career best and reaffirmed Derbyshire's self-belief.
It was further enhanced when Madsen ran out Rory Burns with a stunning direct hit almost from the boundary at long-off. Mark Footitt worked up a fierce pace and Vikram Solanki, going in ahead of Ponting at three, needed treatment after taking a blow to the body. The target to avoid the follow-on may feel a long way off when he and Arun Harinath resume.