Champions Warwickshire find Tony Palladino a pain

Derbyshire 226 Warwickshire 14-0

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The Independent Online

Once the euphoria of winning the Second Division title had died away, Derbyshire were never likely to kid themselves that life among the big-hitters of the County Championship would be anything but a challenge, but they may have hoped for a kinder induction than the First Division title-holders on their own patch.

Then again, they may argue there is no harm in knowing the true scale of the challenge right from the off. Chris Grant, the millionaire former stockbroker under whose shrewd guidance as chairman the once downtrodden Peakites have prospered, has approached his job with a similar mindset since he took charge in 2011.

Being at Edgbaston was a challenge in itself for Grant, two days after undergoing surgery for a broken toe suffered in an encounter with a door on the last day of Derbyshire's pre-season trip to Barbados. A heavy intake of painkillers leant a codeine-induced fuzz to his view of proceedings but he will have been no less thrilled for that when the ninth-wicket pairing of Tony Palladino and Mark Turner secured the first bonus point of their new existence.

Their partnership of 55, the highest of the innings after Palladino had attacked the second new ball to personal profit, gave Derbyshire's total much respectability after Warwickshire put them in. Palladino, whose highlights included a four and a six off consecutive balls against Oliver Hannon-Dalby, walked off with a fifth Championship half-century to his name.

Warwickshire looked rather less full of themselves by that stage than they had at the close of the opening session, when they headed for lunch in an orgy of self-congratulatory high-fives. Chris Wright, their leading wicket-taker of last season, was handed his county cap and had responded to the arrival of England head coach Andy Flower and national selector Geoff Miller by removing both Derbyshire openers in an 11-over spell that cost only 15 runs.

Hannon-Dalby claimed his first Warwickshire wicket, yet Derbyshire fought back, despite sagging in the face of a useful turn of off-spin by Jeetan Patel that cost them four wickets in eight overs. Shivnarine Chanderpaul, on his Derbyshire debut, did not achieve much, but first Wes Durston, then Dan Redfern and Chesney Hughes seized the initiative before Palladino cut loose as Warwickshire were reminded that the defence of the title may need some graft on their part too.