Wayne Madsen, Matt Critchley snuff out Durham fight before it begins

Derbyshire 267 (Madsen 76, Hosein 63, Rushworth 6-58) and 280 for 5 (Madsen 74, Critchley 69) drew with Durham 475 (Bedingham 257, Burnham 75, Conners 5-83) and 175 for 2 declared (Lees 78*, Bedingham 53*)

Durham had been sustained throughout a wearying final day by the thought of a second new ball. They knew they would have 21 overs with it, ample time to knock over Derbyshire’s tail. Just get into position then bang, bang, bang.

They got there with only five wickets down, Derbyshire’s high-class pairing of Matt Critchley and Wayne Madsen having been removed in successive overs as the old ball awoke to its task with its last breath. A glimmer of hope. But instead of bang, bang, bang there was not so much as a whimper. Stalemate was agreed with four overs remaining.

When Durham’s new captain, Scott Borthwick, returned north in revivalist frame of mind, he was wise enough to negotiate a five-year deal, which should at least allow him to see a relaid square quicken up a bit. Bowling sides out twice on these pitches will be a challenge. The outcome of this game – a draw accepted with four overs remaining, and Derbyshire 280 for 5 in mock pursuit of 384, could be a harbinger of the frustrations to follow.

Durham have now not won in 10. They are making progress in that they are drawing better. Derbyshire also have three draws to their credit and will take consolation in that. Their staunch resistance won professional respect. But Group 1 has produced 12 draws in 15 games in a dry April and is in danger of becoming a non-event, with Essex and Warwickshire winning matches and hoping to qualify in the right way, and everybody else drowning in draw points and hoping to nick something they barely deserve. If Group 1 is to be termed The Group of Death it will be because everyone is dying of boredom.

(With Inputs from ESPN)

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