DERBYSHIRE have made all the running in this match but they will do well to win it tomorrow. Though all of their batsmen made a contribution yesterday, John Morris with the most fluency, they lead by only 44 - a small return on a day which they dominated after dismissing Hampshire for 243.
They began their reply in positive fashion, through their captain Kim Barnett. His endearing attribute is a willingness to take advantage of any width he is given outside the off stump and at the outset Hampshire's seamers gave him more than enough. Peter Bowler, though more compact, was equally ready to capitalise on anything loose, and both openers were past 50 before they were separated, having put the supposed perils of a greenish pitch into perspective.
Their partnership of 129 followed an unbroken second wicket stand of 155 against Essex on Monday which put an end to Derbyshire's series of innings defeats at Chelmsford. Yesterday's stand was the precursor to the day's most invigorating batting, from Morris, whose innings of 61 was characterised by some splendid driving. It ended needlessly when he was run out, sent back by Chris Adams. Bowler, who had become becalmed, had already gone to Shaun Udal's fine catch.
Derbyshire must make their way tomorrow and for the rest of the season, of course, without Ian Bishop. Had he been bowling yesterday morning, they would probably have finished off Hampshire's first innings without much fuss. As it was the last two wickets added 46 before Devon Malcolm found the right line on two occasions - it was elusive otherwise - to remove Adrian Aymes and Cardigan Connor.
Keith Fletcher, the England manager, and Dennis Amis, the selector, who were both watching, will have learnt little about Malcolm, or Dominic Cork for that matter, which they did not know already.
Malcolm Marshall returned after lunch to bowl Barnett in a purposeful burst, and how badly Hampshire need his inspirational spark; in midweek their defence of the Benson and Hedges Cup ended and, since that triumph at Lord's last July they have not won a championship game. They are not likely to win this one, with Derbyshire committed to batting on and trying to bowl Hampshire out for a second time. With the pitch easing, they have a job on their hands.Reuse content