Derbyshire bowlers feel the heat in Barbados as Nottinghamshire batsmen fill their boots
THERE was a long afternoon of toil in the sapping Caribbean heat for what remained of the Derbyshire bowling attack yesterday.
The Nottinghamshire batsmen showed no mercy on the first day of the county's final fixture of their pre-season tour to Barbados, breaking the shackles of a tight first session to finish the day 386 all out. It was almost cruel at times.
The signs were there for Derbyshire even before they left the hotel.
Jon Clare's bruised knee had not eased enough for him to play, while Mark Footitt was left behind with food poisoning and Peter Burgoyne soon returned after becoming ill during the warm-ups.
The plan was for Tim Groenewald and Tony Palladino to take the rest of the day off after initial six-over spells but what was not in the plan was that Mark Turner would feel a twinge in his back after bowling only 11 balls – without conceding a run – then Wes Durston's knee would lock up and Ross Whiteley would be finished for the day after 4.1 overs because of a slight quadriceps strain.
None of the problems were considered serious, though head coach Karl Krikken was taking no risks at this stage of pre-season.
That left four bowlers to carry the burden through two more gruelling sessions in 30 degree-plus temperatures and as manfully as Ally Evans, Matt Higginbottom, Chesney Hughes and David Wainwright worked, that was the signal for the Notts batsmen to fill their boots.
"We had a few niggles that we would rather be precautionary with at this time of year. We were a few men down with the bowlers and it was hard work for the boys," said captain Wayne Madsen, playing for the first time on the tour.
"It was good for Wainers to get 20-odd overs under his belt, Chesney had a good spell and for the likes of Ally and Higgy to run in and bowl against that quality of batsmen, after not having much bowling so far, will be a good experience for them.
"It was a tough day but every time you can get 90 overs under your belt at this stage, it's a little bit extra you are going to have at the end of the season.
"For me, it was nice to get out there unscathed. My body feels pretty sore now but it did feel good. It was hard work but I did enjoy it."
New-ball partners Palladino and Groenewald looked sharp in their opening bursts, both seamers troubling the batsmen and conceding only 13 runs.
Groenewald added the wicket of Alex Hales to his figures, caught behind by Richard Johnson.
Evans added a second wicket with his fifth ball, Riki Wessels comfortably taken by Billy Godleman at gully at 34-2, then Michael Lumb hit straight to Higginbottom at extra cover to give Durston, returning after missing t20 finals day with a sore back, a victim at 96-3.
When James Taylor, starting to get into his stride before lunch, hooked Higginbottom to Wainwright at long leg for 43 in the fifth over after the break, Derbyshire still had the better of it at 119-4.
But the rest of the day belonged to the batsmen.
Chris Read did not take long to get into his stride and moved on to 73 off 86 balls with 10 fours and a six before slicing a drive at Wainwright to backward point but Steven Mullaney was in even more brutal mood.
Poor Hughes took some fearful punishment off the former Lancashire all-rounder, who hit seven fours and seven sixes in racing to 101 off 104 balls before doing the decent thing and retiring out.
So too did Paul Franks, after reaching 50 off 88 balls with eight fours.
Evans added the consolation of a second wicket when Ben Phillips skied a drive to mid off and Hughes had the reward of last-man Jake Ball's wicket but, by that stage, Derbyshire looked so weary in the field that they would be forgiven for being past caring.
The comfort is that the bowlers can put their feet up today while it is Derbyshire's turn to bat.