Doug Bracewell proves point after putting his foot in it

New Zealand 289-5 dec & 199-5 Derbyshire 154


Parties, as Doug Bracewell discovered, can create a dreadful mess all round. Clearing up after having a few friends round to his home a few months ago he stepped on a piece of broken glass and sustained a deep cut to his foot.

Unfortunately, this was five days before New Zealand's first Test against England in which he had been picked to play but was instead left to pick up the pieces. He missed the match and the rest of the series.

The old 1963 hit by Lesley Gore came to mind. "It's my party and I'll cry if I want to, you'd cry too if it happened it to you," though Bracewell will not have felt much like marking its half century. There is time to be made up on this tour of England and he set about it in exhilarating style yesterday.

He took four Derbyshire wickets in the first of the tourists' two first-class matches before the opening Test at Lord's, achieving movement and bounce at a lively pace.

If fast bowlers were asked where they wanted to start a tour of England more votes would be cast for the County Ground, Derby in early May than for Ukip.

At the start of the second day, Bracewell bowled four overs for one run, giving the batsmen nothing. Forty minutes later he came back and whistled them through. He jagged one away from Daniel Redfern to yield a catch at first slip and next ball Ross Whiteley received one which lifted and moved and ended up in the hands of gully.

Bracewell then cleaned up both Peter Burgoyne and Mark Footitt, two more reserves in this unimposing but combative Derbyshire side, and may have just nosed ahead of Neil Wagner in the contest for a spot at Lord's.

Wagner, the bristling left-arm medium pacer, took Bracewell's place in the series against England and kept it for the third Test when the right foot was restored. This is a bowl-off. "I kind of see it like that," said Bracewell.

"Neil's come in and taken wickets so credit to him but every game you play you're trying to prove a point. It was disappointing to miss out on the third Test but obviously Neil was bowling very well."

As they say, mystery surrounds the precise circumstances of Bracewell's cut foot. The New Zealand papers were full of it at the time, parties being what they are.

"There was a few stories but I just stood on a piece of glass while I was cleaning up," said Bracewell. "I had a few mates round the night before and it happened in the morning.

"It was deep enough but it was more the bruising that took a bit longer to heal. It was pretty bad luck really. A few things got blown out of proportion and a few stories came out. People can believe what they want to."

New Zealand's bowling, with the worthy Trent Boult and Tim Southee sitting this one out, is in better order than their batting.

The Derby-in-May factor doubtless had something to do with it but four of the top five all failed when the tourists batted again with a lead of 135.

All were bowled, some playing pretty loosely and they found Footitt's brisk left-arm difficult to handle again. But B-J Watling and Tom Latham, who had both kept wicket earlier, restored order and with a lead of 300 they look safe.

New Zealand have had a good work- out and, always a bonus in tour matches, there is potential for a nicely entertaining finish today.

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