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Group 1, Birmingham, April 08 - 11, 2021, County Championship
189 & 244
(T:213) 221 & 7/0

Match drawn


Matt Critchley, Harvey Hosein half-centuries blunt Warwickshire on final day

Derbyshire make off with points for draw after century stand between sixth-wicket pair

George Dobell
George Dobell
Matt Critchley flicks into the leg side, Warwickshire vs Derbyshire, County Championship, Edgbaston, April 8, 2021

Matt Critchley made a half-century in each innings  •  Getty Images

Derbyshire 189 (Critchley 64, Reece 63, Norwell 5-32) and 244 (Critchley 83, Hosein 78*, Hannon-Dalby 5-76) drew with Warwickshire 221 (Lamb 54) and 7 for 0
A century stand from Matt Critchley and Harvey Hosein led Derbyshire to safety on the final day of their Championship match at Edgbaston. Resuming on the fourth morning with a lead of 39 and five wickets in hand, Critchley and Hosein added 113 in 36 overs to steer their side from danger.
While Derbyshire had dug something of a hole for themselves with their aggressive batting on the third evening, Critchley and Hosein adopted a more sophisticated approach on the final day. Prepared to wait for scoring opportunities, they played admirably straight, shrugged off the times they were beaten - inevitable on these early-season surfaces - and put away the loose ball without fuss.
Perhaps understandably in these horribly uncomfortable conditions - play started in sub-zero temperatures - Warwickshire's seamers lacked the required consistency to build pressure. For although ball continued to beat bat fairly regularly, there were also a number of release deliveries that helped Derbyshire stretch their lead towards safety.
Critchley was, perhaps, the more eye-catching of the pair. While every other batter in the match has struggled for fluency, he timed the ball sweetly in both innings and looked a high-class player. He was particularly efficient off his legs and punished anything overpitched. He brought up his half-century (73 balls, eight fours) with a rasping cut for four off Hannon-Dalby and finished as Derbyshire's top-scorer in both innings.
Hosein offered steadfast support. Although generally patient - his half-century occupied 103 deliveries - he produced a gorgeous on-drive when Craig Miles overpitched and put away anything on his legs efficiently.
Maybe the batters were helped by a change in atmospheric conditions, too. Although the temperature remained uncomfortably cold - indeed, this may well have been the coldest day of the match - the heavy cloud cover of the previous day dispersed for a few hours to produce slightly more benign conditions. They were the only pair to bat through a completed session in the match.
While Warwickshire's seamers beat the bat enough to justify their usage, it might have been worth a look at the spin of Danny Briggs a bit earlier. He wasn't called upon until the 67th over of the innings by which time Derbyshire were almost 200 ahead.
It was something of a surprise when Liam Norwell made the breakthrough. He had generally struggled to rediscover the menace he showed in the first innings but, angling one in, he trapped Critchley leg-before 17 short of a well-deserved century.
"It was a great partnership for us," Billy Godleman, the Derbyshire captain, said. "Critchley played beautifully in the first innings and backed it up today under immense pressure with the game situation. I was really proud of our players today."
The value of the stand was demonstrated as Derbyshire lost their final four wickets for 25 runs. Although Fynn Hudson-Prentice helped Hosein add a further 35 for the seventh wicket, after he was well held by Michael Burgess, standing up to the seam of Will Rhodes, the final three went cheaply. Hosein was left unbeaten on 78, his fourth half-century - two of which have been unbeaten - in his nine most recent first-class innings.
That left Warwickshire requiring 213 in a minimum of 41 overs for victory. Maybe, had poor weather not intervened, we might have seen an exciting finish. But five overs into the Warwickshire "chase", snow started to fall and play was suspended.
There was little indication Warwickshire had been tempted to go for their target, anyway. Two of the first four overs were maidens and Dom Sibley was scoreless after 10 deliveries. They head to Trent Bridge later in the week with Olly Stone and, perhaps, Hanuma Vihari expected to come into their side. A decision on Vihari, who is only due out of quarantine on Wednesday, will be made nearer the time, but it could be he replaces Briggs in the XI. Suffice to say, he faces quite a culture shock in terms of weather and pitches.
Afterwards, Mark Robinson, the new Warwickshire head coach, admitted to a touch of frustration.
"Maybe our seamers could have been a tad more consistent on the final morning," he said. "And maybe we could have been a bit more ruthless both on the last morning and when we got level with them in the first innings.
"It's a new start for us and I'm still learning about the team. We're not perfect. But we'll get better game by game. It'll be a hell of a team."
But, while this was ultimately a frustrating day, there was a first glimpse - in the first team environment, anyway - of Jacob Bethell. Warwickshire are confident they have uncovered something of a gem in the 17-year-old Barbadian. You suspect his appearance here, albeit as a substitute fielder, will be the first of many.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

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