IF the clear message of an intimidating first-innings deficit was that Derbyshire were in a hopeless position at Kidderminster, it unaccountably failed to get through to their captain, Kim Barnett.
An innings of extraordinary contrasts ensured that Worcestershire will have to put in another day's work tomorrow to earn the victory that their score of 560 had made to look inevitable.
Despite needing 310 merely to make Worcestershire bat again, Derbyshire attacked their task in the carefree style of weekend hikers setting out whistling on a comfortable stroll. With Barnett cutting and cover-driving the quick bowlers with relish and Peter Bowler hardly less fluent, they put on their first 60 in seven overs.
Barnett's first 50 was scored off only 58 balls, but a change of tempo was forced on him when Bowler fell to Neal Radford, who with Richard Illingworth slowed the gallop markedly.
With three partners going cheaply, suggesting that Derbyshire might collapse as they had in the first innings, Barnett grafted for 130 balls for his second 50. In another change of role, he was then content to play second fiddle to Dominic Cork, who scored a half-century comprised almost entirely of boundaries, including a straight six off Illingworth. Cork went for 57 but Barnett and Matthew Vandrau saw to it that Derbyshire would live to fight at least part of another day.
Worcestershire had added only 21 to their mammoth overnight total before Cork and Simon Base - who finished with the admirable figures of 5 for 82 amid the carnage - took the last three wickets.
It was still Worcestershire's highest total against Derbyshire, eclipsing a record set in 1899 and still requiring an effort of equally historic proportions to prevent it ensuring victory 94 years later. Barnett might not be capable of that, but he has already shown several different shades of defiance.Reuse content