Derbyshire 124 for 5 v Northamptonshire 201
Derbyshire allrounder Greg Smith took a career-best five-wicket haul as Northamptonshire were shot out for 201 on an opening day at Chesterfield dominated by the ball. Smith claimed 5 for 54 and Jon Clare bagged 4 for 42 on his first County Championship appearance of the season to put the hosts in control. But the promotion contenders hit back through Elton Chigumbura who took 4 for 48 to leave Derbyshire on 124 for 5 at the close with Chesney Hughes unbeaten on 61.
The home side lost fast bowler Mark Footitt with an ankle injury in the pre-match warm up but skipper Chris Rogers elected to put Northants in on a well grassed pitch which proved a shrewd decision. Mal Loye was undone by some late movement from Tim Groenewald to be caught at first slip for three in the sixth over and after Alex Wakely and Ben Howgego had taken the score past 50, three wickets fell in four overs.
Howgego had played some neat shots off his legs and looked set at 35 but he then left a ball from Smith which took the top of his off stump and Northants suffered a double setback when Clare struck with successive balls. Wakely drove away from his body to be caught at gully by Wes Durston who then took a diving catch to send back Rob Newton for a duck on his second Championship appearance.
Andrew Hall dispatched the hat-trick ball to the cover boundary and with David Sales, who survived a confident appeal for a catch behind before he had scored, added 68 in 19 overs. Sales had moved to 36 when Clare got one to lift to have him caught at slip and in the next over, Hall drove Smith to cover and David Murphy was bowled first ball.
At 127 for 7, Northants were in a big hole but Chigumbura and James Middlebrook dug in for 13 overs before Smith removed them both but the visitors at least claimed a batting point before Clare polished off the innings.
Derbyshire were soon in trouble when Rogers, who was dropped on five, was unlucky to be run out backing up when Chigumbura deflected a drive into the stumps and the Zimbabwean then trapped Wayne Madsen lbw for a duck.
Durston edged low to first slip before Smith played back to a good length ball and was bowled for four to leave the home side in trouble at 40 for 4, but Hughes responded to the crisis with some punishing drives and reached his 50 by driving Middlebrook out of the ground. Chigumbura returned to have Dan Redfern caught behind for 21 but Hughes and Robin Peterson stood firm in fading light.