They suffered an early setback when Nick Knight wastefully chased a wayward ball from Devon Malcolm outside off-stump and gave the wicketkeeper, Karl Krikken, the first of his three catches. It was not a stroke that a man wishing to regain his England place would want to be seen playing. Happily for Warwickshire, Knight's example was not followed.
Andy Moles and David Hemp applied themselves solidly to the job in hand for the next two and a half hours to add 124, making a pitch on which all bar one of Derbyshire's batsmen had seemed decidedly uncomfortable now appear quite benign.
Hemp moved to Edgbaston during the winter from Glamorgan, where his career had lost momentum after a serious injury. He did not look much of an acquisition to begin with but has struck a rich seam of form of late, making three centuries in the space of four Championship innings before this match.
To these he added 60 yesterday, collecting half a dozen fours and a six before DeFreitas, the best of Derbyshire's bowlers, deceived him enough to get an edge as he attempted to cut. Moles, who batted for more than six hours in making 160 at Southampton in Warwickshire's last match, was more impressive still, striking 13 fours and deserving better than to be out for 83. Technically, Moles is as sound as they come and he allies this to the powers of concentration vital to building long innings, a combination one appreciates all the more in the knowledge that he has recently inherited a family tendency towards diabetes.
He gave a sharp chance to first slip on 66, which he survived, but it did not look as though DeFreitas would find a way to prevent the 36-year- old opener completing the 30th century of his 11-year first-class career until Krikken pouched for his third catch as Moles tried to nudge the ball towards third man, bringing to an end an occupation this time spanning three hours and 41 minutes.
Derbyshire, their heads doubtless still spinning from the dramatic departure of their erstwhile captain, Dean Jones, will need a good start today if this is not to be another match that slips out of their reach.
n Somerset's coach, Dermot Reeve, is considering making a comeback to play one-day cricket next summer. The 34-year-old was forced to retire as a player for Warwickshire last year because of an arthritic hip.Reuse content