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Report

Thomas defends declaration as rain denies Leicestershire

Derbyshire cling on for weather-affected draw

Alfonso Thomas looks on, Lancashire vs Leicestershire, Vitality Blast, Old Trafford, May 25, 2023

Alfonso Thomas looks on  •  Getty Images

Derbyshire 167 (Lloyd 54) and 224 for 6 (Madsen 59*) drew with Leicestershire 574 for 7 declared (Harris 214, Cox 69, Handscomb 68)
Leicestershire head coach Alfonso Thomas defended the timing of his team's declaration after forecast rain wiped out the final day of their County Championship match at Derby, denying them the chance to push for victory.
The visitors were favourites with Derbyshire still 183 runs short of avoiding an innings defeat on 224 for 6 but heavy rain throughout the morning left large pools of surface water on the County Ground outfield. After lunch was taken early at 12.30pm, the umpires inspected and the inevitable decision to call the game off was announced shortly after leaving Leicestershire with 16 points and Derbyshire nine from the draw.
Despite the frustration, Thomas was "extremely proud" of the way a team missing several frontline bowlers performed. He said: "I have to doff my cap to the lads. We've asked a lot of them in the last four days and they've delivered and more. We've tried to counter the weather as much as we could.
Leicestershire batted for 130 overs in their first innings and declared with 20 overs remaining on the second day. "There's going to be a feeling that we should have pulled out earlier but I thought we got it right," Thomas said. "The guys gave it a good go after tea yesterday, they batted well to be fair to them, they're allowed to bat well, but I'm extremely proud of the effort that our lads have put in over the last four days.
"The way the lads came out on the evening of day two, to get them four down was a fantastic effort. We've bowled well as a pack which is exactly what we want, we don't want to depend on one bowler, and it's going to be a tough decision come next week against Northants."
For Derbyshire head of cricket Mickey Arthur, the unbroken seventh wicket partnership between Wayne Madsen and Alex Thomson was key in guiding the team to safety.
"It was a really good partnership under pressure, we'd looked at the forecasts and knew we needed to get into today to get the draw," he said. "They were very composed, very clinical and did a really good job for us."
Arthur also recognised the significance of the dropped catches on the first morning after his side had put Leicestershire into bat. "It definitely set the tone for the game," he said. "At 10 for 2 we would have been looking at a totally different scenario.
"I thought we bowled well with the new ball, we asked enough questions to put them under pressure and we created the opportunities but didn't latch onto those opportunities and that is the very disappointing aspect of it.
"The effort has been outstanding, the commitment to the cause has been outstanding and the determination they've showed to get better everyday has been brilliant so I'm never ever questioning that.
"What I did find disappointing was the way we caught because we put a lot of time and work into that and our bowling with the older ball is something we need to work on.The other thing Is we haven't had a hundred yet. We've had guys get sixties but I expect for us to be able to put the opposition under enough pressure we need to get runs on the board and we haven't been able to do that yet."

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