Yorkshire v Derbyshire: Gale calls it both right and wrong for Yorkshire

Chesney Hughes celebrates his century.Chesney Hughes celebrates his century.
Chesney Hughes celebrates his century.
WHEN Andrew Gale won the toss yesterday he punched the air in delight, the sort of reaction he normally reserves for when his beloved Huddersfield Town score a goal.

The Yorkshire captain had lost the toss in each of his side’s three games this season and his belated success with the 1863 coin presented to him to mark the club’s 150th anniversary condemned his Derbyshire counterpart Wayne Madsen to his fourth lost toss in as many attempts.

Something had to give for two captains with a zero per cent record in the coin-calling stakes, but it was Madsen who was punching the air in delight after Gale’s decision to bowl backfired.

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On a deceptively placid pitch, Derbyshire – bottom of the fledgling First Division after two defeats in their opening three games – scored 302-4 to take control of this meeting between last year’s promoted clubs.

After a 45-minute delay due to morning rain, a factor which influenced Gale’s decision to insert, Derbyshire were dominant following the loss of Billy Godleman in the seventh over with the score on 10, the left-hander lured forward by Tim Bresnan and smartly snaffled by Joe Root at third slip, moving to his right.

Chesney Hughes, the muscular 22-year-old left-hander from Anguilla, scored a career-best, unbeaten 171, while Madsen contributed 93 before Steve Patterson had him caught at first slip by Adam Lyth.

Hughes and Madsen added 258 in 69 overs – just short of the highest second-wicket stand at Leeds in first-class cricket, the 259 amassed by Surrey’s Scott Newman and Mark Ramprakash five years ago.

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That was the game in which Ramprakash scored his 100th first-class hundred and there was a Ramprakash-esque regality – not to mention a certain Caribbean brutality – about Hughes’s stroke play during an innings that spanned 282 balls and included 25 fours and three sixes.

Yorkshire, buoyed by their four-wicket win at Durham 48 hours earlier, when they recorded their fourth-highest successful run-chase, had one of their more challenging days in recent memory.

They dragged things back a touch when the wicket of Madsen was closely followed by those of Shivnarine Chanderpaul, caught at slip by Lyth off Adil Rashid for four, and Wes Durston, grabbed in the gully by Bresnan off Liam Plunkett for three, but the day belonged to the visitors.

Without Ryan Sidebottom, who was rested due to the congested amount of cricket in the next few weeks, Yorkshire lacked a little of the X-factor that the former England man invariably provides, although Patterson and Jack Brooks kept things tight, while Plunkett recovered after a tricky start.

However, Gale admitted his side were below par.

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“I don’t think we were quite at our best with the ball,” he said.

“We bowled with too much width in the first two sessions, and I fielded at mid-off for quite a lot of the day and didn’t field as many balls as I should have done, which tells me that we bowled a bit too wide.

“I thought it was a good toss to win because there was a bit of damp in the pitch and cloudy overhead conditions at the start of the day, and you would say it was a typical Headingley morning for bowling.

“In the past I’ve batted on those sorts of mornings and we’ve been 60-6, but the pitch didn’t do quite as much as I thought.

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“We seem to be banging our head against a brick wall with these pitches at Headingley, and it’s a bit of a concern.

“All we ask for is pace and bounce in the pitch, and if you’ve got that everyone’s a winner – it’s good for batting on, it’s good for bowling on, and I don’t think there was much pace and bounce in this pitch.

“Fair play to Derbyshire, they got over the new ball and cashed in and Chesney batted superbly; he hits the ball as hard as anyone on the circuit.

“But I was pleased with the way we fought back after tea and we’re still in this game, definitely.”

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Hughes had a life on 70 when wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow spilled a tough chance diving to his left off Bresnan, but the batsman deserved his moment of good fortune.

His cover-driving was a joy to behold and he pounced on anything short and wide.

Yorkshire, chastened but not cowed, will feel they are still in this match if they can dismiss the visitors quickly.

With the weather forecast set fair, it could yet develop into an intriguing contest.