After the first match of England’s one-day international series against Australia at Headingley was declared a washout yesterday afternoon, it was left to the County Championship to fill centre stage. A deluge overnight and throughout the morning meant that the likelihood of any play was quickly dashed, with the sides due to reconvene at Old Trafford tomorrow.
But while most of the day’s County Championship schedule was hit, there was a thrilling finish down at Taunton as Derbyshire leapfrogged Somerset in the race for First Division survival after posting a nerve-shredding two-wicket win.
Veteran Shivnarine Chanderpaul was the mainstay of the Derbyshire second innings , finishing unbeaten on 74 as they successfully chased 244. His only support came in the form of Alex Hughes, who scored 33, as the pair shared a stand of 68. Chanderpaul, who has 10,830 runs in 148 Tests for the West Indies, could hold the key to the county’s survival with his international experience being able to help Wayne Madsen, the free-scoring captain.
This result could have been very different had Craig Meschede held a catch at mid-on to dismiss Chanderpaul with Derbyshire on 216 for 8, still requiring 28 runs for victory. Somerset’s Indian leg-spinner Piyush Chawla took three wickets in the day’s play to take his tally for the innings to five, meaning that his figures for the match stood at 10 for 208.
The result lifted Derbyshire out of the bottom two, one point above Somerset, and will be crucial as they prepare for a difficult run-in. Madsen’s side play leaders Durham at home next week before hosting Warwickshire. Somerset meanwhile feature in a do-or-die game against bottom side Surrey at Taunton next week which could go a long way towards deciding the fate of the two teams as they battle to stay in the division.
In the only other game in the First Division, Nottinghamshire needed 211 to beat Warwickshire at Trent Bridge, but did not get the chance to begin their chase as the game was abandoned in the middle of the afternoon without a ball being bowled.
In the Second Division, at the Rose Bowl Hampshire added 30 to their overnight score to give them a first-innings lead of 107 over Northamptonshire and effectively killed the game off. After regular interruptions due to bad light, the contest finished as a draw with Northants on 135 for 3, with David Sales unbeaten on 66.