Cricket: Barnett's strokeplay saves Derbyshire embarrassment

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The Independent Online
Gloucestershire 459-8 dec Derbyshire 281-9

FOR some time yesterday, Derbyshire seemed capable of disproving the theory that although stroke play is not always straightforward on the sluggish pitch here, no batsman should be easily dismissed.

After Gloucestershire had batted on, to a certain amount of undisguised disapproval from Derbyshire, they lost two wickets without a run scored in Courtney Walsh's first over.

Fortunately for them, Kim Barnett stepped in for the second successive day, this time as a batsman; he made 74 with strokes of great authority. Although Karl Krikken made a half-century from 66 balls and Matthew Cassar a more circumspect, unbeaten 65, they still ended 29 short of avoiding the follow-on - embarrassing on this pitch - with only one wicket standing.

Michael Slater, yet to find his feet after injuring a hand on the first morning of the season, mis-timed a pull from Walsh's second ball and was well caught low down at mid-on by Mike Smith. Slater has scored only 76 runs in five innings, but sympathy for him will be tempered by the knowledge that his latest mishap came on the stroke of lunch.

From the next ball, Tim Tweats was caught off a glove down the legside and when Adrian Rollins, falling across the crease, was palpably lbw to a ball of full length from Jonathan Lewis, the follow-on target of 310 looked a long way away.

But on this pitch Walsh was wisely not steaming in and Barnett put everything into perspective with a series of well-timed strokes; the most spectacular was a hook for six off Walsh allied to a number of back foot forces and he scarcely made an error in facing 108 balls.

Then, to Gloucestershire's relief, he played emphatically on attempting to square cut Mark Alleyne. When Michael May was leg before, offering negligible footwork to another full-length delivery from Lewis, half the side had gone for 143.

Earlier, Windows had batted with some comfort to reach 143 from 287 balls. It was his second 100 in successive Championship innings and with a declaration beckoning he was entitled to feel aggrieved when Lewis, during the course of a well-struck maiden half-century, called him for an unlikely single. He was well beaten by a direct hit from cover.

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