Cricket: Test hopefuls off target

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The Independent Online
Derbyshire 392 and 143; Leicestershire 273 and 263-3. Leics won by seven wickets

THIS should have been the day one of the 'three Ms' grabbed their place in the England squad, but yesterday at the County Ground was a day for receiving, not for taking.

Derbyshire were the donors and Leicestershire the grateful recipients. Almost forced to follow on on Friday night, Leicestershire ended up with their fourth Championship win to move level with the leaders, Surrey, on 98 points. It was a shabby effort from Derbyshire who should have batted Leicestershire out of the game after resuming with a lead of 216 and six wickets in hand.

Instead they added only 45 runs in the morning and then, with the honourable exception of Phil DeFreitas, neither bowled nor caught well enough to prevent Leicestershire cantering to their target of 260 in only 59.4 overs.

The day certainly did not follow the script. The England selector Brian Bolus was absent through illness and the three bowlers he had been planning to watch played only bit parts.

While DeFreitas only enhanced a reputation refurbished at Trent Bridge with a long and fiery spell, Devon Malcolm finished with match figures of four for 211 at six an over and his challengers David Millns and Alan Mullally did nothing to press their claims. Millns was given only five innocuous overs and Mullally bowled too wide.

However the latter did get the breakthrough, the night watchman Karl Krikken dragging on in the sixth over of the day before two run-outs in three balls holed Derbyshire below the waterline.

Mohammad Azharuddin had looked ready for a big score when Vince Wells diverted Colin Wells's off drive on to the non-striker's stumps with his right boot. In the same over the batsman Wells drove straight to Millns at mid-off and inexplicably set off for a single to be comfortably beaten by the direct hit.

Two runs later Phil Simmons brilliantly caught DeFreitas at backward point and Mullally snapped up the last two wickets in nine balls with the kind of efficiency you would hope to find in a bowler coming into the England reckoning.

With Malcolm's first three overs going for 21 runs Leicestershire were out of the traps at a sprint.

Phil Simmons hit seven fours in his 58-ball half-century, but his dismissal, well caught by DeFreitas at mid-on, was Derbyshire's highpoint.

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