Prolific Rogers builds Derbyshire lead
Derbyshire 451 and 161 for 3 v Surrey 352
Chris Rogers continued his prolific start to the season as he added an unbeaten 99 to his first-innings double hundred to give Derbyshire the chance to push for a final-day victory. The visitors built a lead of 260 over Surrey despite Mark Ramprakash's 102 and Rogers stands on the brink of making Derbyshire history as no batsman from the county has previously made a double ton and a hundred in the same game.
It looked for all the world that he would reach the mark before the close, but he lost the strike as Surrey slowed down to a crawl to ensure they'd only bowl one more than the allotted number of overs. Has it come to that stage already? In the final over of the day Rogers crunched a pull through deep midwicket and wanted a second, but Greg Smith slid as turned and played out to the close.
The tactics that Rogers employs on Monday will give an indication into the brand of cricket Derbyshire are keen to play this summer. Teams in Division Two are always likelier to gamble more over declarations with the carrot of promotion dangling in front of them. Although it's only the opening week of the season it would set a positive trend if Rogers gave his side a strong chance of victory.
Rogers barely put a foot wrong in another confident innings and his main moments of discomfort came against Gareth Batty who bowled with nice flight and drift from the Pavilion End. The offspinner removed Paul Borrington with a delivery that slanted across him from round the wicket and almost shifted Rogers when a bottom edge rolled past the stumps. However, it was a rare moment of unease.
While the turn will interest Derbyshire when they try to bowl Surrey out a second time, so will the hint of low bounce that played a part in Garry Park's wicket when he was caught on the back foot against Jade Dernbach. Rogers will probably want at least another 100 runs, but if Derbyshire bat positively they could get those in around 20 overs and leave Surrey about 75 overs to survive or 360 to chase at under five an over. It should be well within Surrey's compass to save this game, although it hasn't been a convincing start to the season.
When they resumed the follow-on was still a potential hazard but Ramprakash's composed innings took them closer to passing that mark. There was a sense of inevitability about him reaching a hundred and this was the fourth consecutive season his first Championship innings was a three-figure effort. The century was raised off 184 balls, but the surprise came shortly afterwards when he nibbled outside off stump to one angling across him from left-arm Mark Footitt.
When Stuart Meaker drove loosely to cover to bring lunch Surrey were still 10 short of the follow-on, but Batty registered a composed half century to take his side past 300. Andre Nel offered typically flamboyant support (although showed a solid defensive technique as well) until Batty drove Smith - this time in offspin mode - to cover.
Nel took Surrey to the brink of a fourth batting point only to fall in curious style as he attempted to run a bye to the keeper. Racing towards the non-striker's end he was beaten by Lee Goddard's accurate throw which rolled under Nel's feet as he correctly ran the line of the ball. Nel could barely haul himself from the crease, but the final pair took the home side to the 350-mark before Robin Peterson trapped Tim Linley lbw. With the pitch offering turn, Peterson could yet prove a handful on the final day as Surrey battle for a draw.
Andrew McGlashan is assistant editor of Cricinfo