Not before time, Derbyshire introduced some discipline into what had been a disappointingly ragged and at times short- tempered display here yesterday. Kim Barnett and Frank Griffith batted with the footwork, patience, straightness - and luck - required on this pitch and thus the prospect of a highly embarrassing two-day defeat was avoided.
At 87 for7, only eight ahead, Derbyshire had nowhere to go except perhaps to another so-called crisis meeting. But latterly Durham's out-cricket did not match their worthy efforts with bat and ball. Two or three chances went astray, notably when Barnett was 36. Durham face a fourth innings that ought not to be a cakewalk.
That presumes that Derbyshire bowl with more accuracy and sense than they summoned initially when, in the all-important first hour, they began with 11 deliveries that did not demand a stroke and produced a rich mixture of half-volleys, long hops and no-balls while Phil DeFreitas was twice warned for bowling too short at Shaun Birbeck.
DeFreitas's also had a few words with the left-hander, a childish performance by an England bowler against a batsman who previously had mustered a top score of 10. His unbeaten 75, dug out in 223 minutes, was the perfect riposte.
John Morris also set out his stall to bat a long time against his former team-mates. He was encouraged by the knowledge that there was usually one bad ball an over from Devon Malcolm. But, one short of a century, he was leg before to one of the morning's straighter balls.
Encouraged by this, Malcolm bowled spiritedly enough to be kept going for 16 overs throughout the morning session. Even so, Derbyshire needed 34 overs to take the last five wickets, which should have disappointed them, not least when they then lost their first seven batsmen in a similar period.Reuse content