Glamorgan v Derbyshire, Cardiff, 1st day September 9, 2014

Cooke, Wagg lift rebuilding Glamorgan

Derbyshire 8 for 0 trail Glamorgan 282 (Cooke 74, Wagg 62, Palladino 3-34, Footitt 3-61) by 274 runs
Scorecard

The final rounds of the season, with their earlier start times and lengthening shadows, are accompanied by a sense of proceedings drawing to a close. For those counties that are not involved in the intrigues of title-chasing, or promotion and relegation, regular watchers begin to look towards the future.

Certainly there was a sense of that at the Swalec Stadium, where Glamorgan were advertising tickets for the 2015 Ashes Test, which go on sale on Wednesday. The first season under new head coach, Toby Radford, and Hugh Morris, the former England managing director who now fills a duel role as chief executive and director of cricket at Glamorgan, has not been awash with success and the club sit second from bottom of Division Two, having not won since the halfway point of the campaign.

The shuffling of squads has also begun around the counties, as contracts are examined and budgets calculated. Glamorgan have had two frontline bowlers, Huw Waters and John Glover, retire in recent weeks and a third, the hulking seamer Mike Reed, picked for the England Performance Programme over the winter, is expected to leave after turning down a new contract.

Still, the weather was such that sitting in the stands felt like being on the Costa del Cardiff and there was talk of a bright new spinning talent, "the best since Croftie", coming through the ranks. Kieran Bull, 19 years old and from Haverfordwest, took 4 for 62 on first-class debut last week - which leaves him a small matter of 1171 behind Robert Croft, who retired two summers ago but remains a passionate promoter of Welsh cricket.

There may have been disgruntlement at the performance of Glamorgan's batsmen, although half-centuries for Chris Cooke and Graham Wagg gave their first-innings 282 a veneer of respectability and the visiting attack performed manfully on a pristine-looking pitch.

Derbyshire have won their last three Championship fixtures - not to mention their last five against Glamorgan - and still have a mathematical, albeit faint, chance of promotion. Their season has been reinvigorated since an exodus of their own midway through and, if an immediate return to Division One looks unlikely, their supporters too can dream of bigger things next year.

Glamorgan had chosen to bat first on a beautiful September day, the pitch an inviting, oatmeal-coloured strip in a sea of green. Derbyshire fielded their new overseas signing, the India batsman Cheteshwar Pujara, and while he has been given dispensation by the BCCI to play county cricket in order to improve his game against the moving ball, there did not look to be much assistance for the seamers early on.

Cardiff can be slow and low and Pujara, when he does bat, may not feel all that far from the surfaces he has been brought up on playing for Saurashtra. Here, wearing the 'baggy blue' of Derbyshire, he ran around gamely in the field, joining his team-mates in the huddle at the fall of a wicket, clapping encouragement and occasionally shining the ball. At least, with the sun shining and leather to chase, he did not need to pull on a sweater.

Tony Palladino trapped Jacques Rudolph lbw at the end of his fourth consecutive maiden but Derbyshire turned to the spin of Wes Durston after little more than an hour. They were rewarded for their perseverance with two more wickets before lunch and when Mark Footitt, whose venomous pace transcended the conditions, removed Mark Wallace for this second wicket to leave Glamorgan on 158 for 6 during the afternoon, it looked as if the hosts would fall well below par.

A 91-run stand between Cooke and Wagg, both of whom scored centuries in Glamorgan's previous match, was worth a couple of batting points before Footitt wrapped up the innings with his 65th first-class wicket of the season - taking him above Saeed Ajmal as the most penetrative bowler in the country. He can enjoy today. Pujara may enjoy tomorrow.

Alan Gardner is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @alanroderick

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