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Recent Match Report – Gloucestershire vs Derbyshire, County Championship Division Two, 2nd Innings



Derbyshire 291 (Lace 83) and 388 for 3 dec (Madsen 204*, Hughes 109*, Lace 57) drew with Gloucestershire 350 (Roderick 98, Higgins 74)

Wayne Madsen finished unbeaten on 204 as Derbyshire comfortably batted for a draw on a low key final day of the County Championship match with Gloucestershire at Bristol.

It was the 35-year-old South African’s 30th first class century and the second time he had gone past 200 for his county. He shared an unbroken fourth-wicket stand of 278 with Alex Hughes, who contributed 109 not out to the visitors’ second-innings total of 388 for 3 declared, which gave them a lead of 329 when the players shook hands at 4.50pm.

Tom Lace made his second half-century of the match before falling to Benny Howell for 57 with the score on 110, but there was never any threat of Gloucestershire’s bowlers taking the necessary number of quick wickets to force a victory.

During the course of his innings, Madsen went past 15,000 runs in all competitions for Derbyshire, only the ninth player to do so and the first since John Morris in 1991. On 93, he reached 10,000 first class runs for the club he has served with such distinction since 2009.

Gloucestershire took 11 points, while Derbyshire went top of Division Two with nine from a match played on a slow pitch that rewarded patient batting and offered precious little for the bowlers on the last two days.

Resuming their second innings on 97 for 2, the visitors had added only 13 when Lace, who began the day on 48, was brilliantly caught by the diving Chris Dent at wide second slip off Howell.

The young batsman on loan for the season from Middlesex had reached fifty off 112 balls, with six fours. At 110 for 3, the Derbyshire lead was only 51, but Madsen and Hughes calmed any nerves, adding 76 before lunch.

Madsen, who had started the morning on 41, was 82 not out at the interval and cashed in on some generous bowling at the start of the afternoon session as Gloucestershire, eager to boost a slow over-rate, put on spinners Graeme van Buuren and Miles Hammond.

The latter went for 13 in an over as Madsen hit three fours and a single to close in on his hundred, which was completed two overs later, off 219 balls and including eight fours, with a nudge into the leg-side off Hammond.

Gloucestershire took the second new ball with the total 213 for 3 and with Derbyshire leading by 154. But it made little impact as Hughes moved to his half-century off 113 balls.

By tea, Derbyshire had moved to 325 for 3, a lead of 266, with Madsen on 160 and Hughes 91, neither of them having looked in the slightest trouble.

Hughes reached his sixth first class hundred with a boundary to square leg off Hammond, having faced 211 deliveries and hit 10 fours and a pulled six off Harry Hankins.

It only remained for Madsen to bring up his 200, which he did with a single courtesy of a misfield off van Buuren. He removed his helmet and raised both arms, having batted for more than seven hours, facing 343 balls and hitting 21 fours.

Sadly, the ground was almost empty as the chill wind had sent even the hardiest spectators home long before.

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PCB bans wives and family from travelling with team



Wives and family members of Pakistan’s players at the World Cup will not be permitted to stay with them for the duration of the tournament in England. According to a new PCB policy, any cricketer’s family members who wish to travel along with the player will have to make their own arrangements throughout the event.

ESPNcricinfo understands that the decision is intended to keep players focused on the task at hand, without the distraction of families around them. Only Haris Sohail has been allowed special dispensation on personal grounds. The players’ wives and families were allowed to stay with them during the bilateral series against England, but the team manager has since informed the players about the new policy.

This is a departure from standard operating procedure. Previously, Pakistan’s players insisted on having their wives during series abroad, and they were allowed to share hotel rooms. Pakistan are set to begin their campaign against West Indies in Nottingham on May 31 to kick off a World Cup that will see them play nine games across seven venues before the semi-finals.

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Recent Match Report – Kent vs Surrey, County Championship Division One, 2nd Innings



Kent 294 (Dickson 128, Crawley 63) and 352 for 8 (Dickson 91, Kuhn 81, Mulder 68) drew with Surrey 439 (Jacks 120, Borthwick 95, Clarke 88) and 280 (Curran 80, Borthwick 58)

By the end of this fluctuating, frequently fascinating match, 22 players and a couple of physios will quite definitely have earned their sleep. Whether Surrey’s bowlers, who threw everything they had at a Kent side that showed exceptional character to survive a turbulent fourth day and force a draw, will be able to achieve the sanctuary of somnolence, is an altogether different matter.

Kent began the day needing an additional, and highly improbable 380 runs to pull off victory with nine wickets in hand. Had they succeeded it would have been the 12th-highest successful run chase in County Championship history. The fact that scribes were rushing around, consulting scorers and archivists in search of this arcane statistic tells you how well Kent’s middle order negotiated the bulk of a terrific day.

Adam Riley, the nightwatchman, survived what in retrospect was a crucial 35 minutes before Sam Curran uprooted his leg stump with a yorker speared in from round the wicket. But in what proved perhaps the pivotal moment of the match shortly after, Curran was forced from the field, clutching his hamstring. Surrey have had wretched luck with injuries this season, and being a bowler down on an unresponsive track under glorious blue skies put an ultimately impossible burden on the pace bowling trio of Morne Morkel, Rikki Clarke and Conor McKerr. Throughout this match the new ball has been a disproportionately powerful weapon. To be deprived of their chief exponent of swing was a cruel blow so early in the day.

What followed was the day’s first flashpoint. Clarke, twice in two balls was convinced he had Daniel Bell-Drummond. The first was a superb piece of umpiring by Graham Lloyd who adjudged that the noise everyone heard was in fact the ball brushing the back of the batsman’s leg. The second decision was perhaps a little tighter. Bell-Drummond looked to be trapped bang in front on the knee roll. He might just about have jammed the ball into his pad. If he hadn’t, he was stone dead.

Clarke took the latter view and expressed his displeasure. The umpires convened. Words were spoken. We will find out soon enough if there are ramifications. Surrey have been reprimanded before, and rather too often for their comfort. They really don’t need an appearance before the Cricket Disciplinary Commission. The sound and fury was soon forgotten as Bell-Drummond was adjudged lbw in Clarke’s next over.

Three down at lunch and the game was still very much Surrey’s for the winning. By tea, thoughts had flipped to an improbable and spectacular Kent run chase as Surrey’s bowlers laboured with the older ball. Once again Sean Dickson defied the attack with a compact and organised display. He fell nine runs short of what would have been his second century of the match, edging Clarke behind.

Between now and late July many eyes will be on potential England openers for the Ashes. Dickson might just be one to keep an eye on. His wicket was the only one to fall in that middle session and Kent went to tea requiring a further 193 to win from 35 overs with six wickets in hand. Six and a half really given Riley’s nightwatchman status.

Morkel inevitably was entrusted with the new ball as soon as it became available. Immediately he picked up Ollie Robinson, caught at midwicket to end a stand of 70 with Kent’s captain Heino Kuhn, who was threatening to reach the parts that other diminutive South African-born middle-order batsmen can’t reach.

Robinson’s departure was followed soon after, though, by Kuhn, who was at the very least dismayed, incandescent with fury perhaps, when Lloyd decided that a ball that leaped from Morkel and seemed to take his shoulder was judged to have grazed his bat en route.

At 263 for 6 and with another 26 overs to be bowled, fleeting thoughts of Kent’s highest fourth-innings run chase were abandoned. It was all about the draw now. Had Clarke, who bowled magnificently throughout this game, not overstepped when enticing an edge from Wiaan Mulder (again umpire Lloyd the adjudicator) into the momentarily gleeful hands of Dean Elgar at slip, that draw would most likely never have come. Instead Mulder hung on to the end to register an unbeaten half-century on his Kent debut to go with his five wickets.

Alex Blake and Darren Stevens negotiated 70 balls between them and Harry Podmore managed to see out the last four overs to bring home ten points for the home side.

Promoted teams often struggle in Division One. This year only one side will be relegated. In the last ten years, an average of eight points per match has been enough every year but one to guarantee finishing above the bottom club. Kent have so far managed 43 points in four matches. More importantly, they have stood toe to toe with the champions and despite a poor session at the end of day two, have come out with honours even.

Their fans needn’t fear relegation. After a performance like this, they can entertain loftier ambitions.

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Recent Match Report – Northamptonshire vs Sussex, County Championship Division Two, 2nd Innings



Sussex 422 (Jordan 166, Brown 156) and 339 for 4 dec (Salt 122, van Zyl, 81*, Brown 60*) drew with Northamptonshire 368 (Vasconcelos 83, Buck 51) and 288 for 6 (Rossington 69*, Cobb 68, Hamza 4-51)

It has been a tough start to the season for Northamptonshire, who had a chastening time in the 50-overs matches and came back to four-day cricket to be beaten effectively in three by Lancashire last week. Apart from the first session of the first day, they were behind in this game throughout, so to emerge with a draw will feel like a triumph of sorts.

Sussex led by 346 overnight but did not declare, adding 47 more in a four-over flurry that left a target for the home side of 394 in a round 90 overs minimum, which was a hefty demand but, with batsmen well attuned these days to scoring quickly, not so forbidding that Northamptonshire would not fancy themselves a little bit.

But the balance shifted away from them in two major lurches during the afternoon session.

After the early loss of Ricardo Vasconcelos, who nicked a textbook away-swinger from Mir Hamza into the hands of Philip Salt at third slip, Josh Cobb and Ben Curran had built a fairly sturdy platform by lunch, one down for 104.

Successful fourth-innings targets on the scale of this one rarely happen; indeed, only once in Northamptonshire’s history, on this ground in 2010, when Stephen Peters made what was then a career-best 183 not out and a target of 394 to beat Middlesex was reached.

As the players re-emerged into the afternoon sun, there might have been a few home supporters wondering if something similar could happen, but such imaginings were beginning to seem more fanciful when Hamza’s post-lunch spell claimed wickets in its second and fourth overs.

These setbacks might have raised fewer groans had they not been somewhat self-inflicted. Curran, who had played with careful application for his 29 before lunch as Cobb led the scoring, undid all that with an airy waft outside off stump, offering Ben Brown a routine catch. Cobb then succumbed to an awful misjudgment, shouldering arms to a ball he plainly believed would pass by only for it to swing back and knock down his exposed off stump.

Cobb made 62 and 68 in the game, which was not bad given that he was in the side only because of Alex Wakely’s domestic mishap on the first evening. He knows it could have been more both times.

Much seemed to rest now on Temba Bavuma, in the second match of his stay here. He did not make the impact he would have liked on his debut against Lancashire at Old Trafford last week, where Northamptonshire were soundly beaten, but here was a situation in which to make a name for himself. As those before him had demonstrated, there were no demons in the pitch, even after four days of sunshine, and there were runs to be had quickly against a Sussex attack lacking the injured Ollie Robinson, in which only Hamza had been consistently tight.

An experienced batsman now, with 36 Tests for South Africa on his CV since his historic debut in 2014, Bavuma’s first scoring shot was a gorgeous cover drive for four off Hamza. Rob Keogh, his new partner after Cobb’s demise, has been in good form. Perhaps there was still room for a little optimism among the fourth-day stalwarts.

It was pretty much gone, though, after one over accounted for both of them midway through the session. Unlike Hamza, Chris Jordan had been impressive only occasionally (in his bowling, at any rate) in this match, but came up with something fast and straight for Keogh, who looked to work it to leg but was beaten for pace as the ball thudded into his front pad.

The real calamity came three balls later. Bavuma played Jordan back down the pitch. There was not much pace on the shot but Bavuma somehow saw a single in it, even though Adam Rossington, the new batsman, plainly did not.

The stand-in skipper anchored his bat behind the crease but Bavuma was halfway down before he knew he had to turn back. By then, David Wiese had swooped in from mid-on and had the ball in his hands, with enough time to pitch his throw on a long-hop length and watch it follow a gentle arc into the off stump with the South African still out of his ground.

At 162 for 5, the chance to win the game had gone. Frustratingly, Northamptonshire had scored quickly enough to be well up with the required rate, but the number in the wickets column was a clear message that they needed to change their focus to survival. All afternoon, anyone dozing off in the sunshine was liable to be disturbed regularly by the crash of ball against advertising boards. The five overs before tea, though, allowed for uninterrupted slumber.

Thirty-seven overs remained in the final session, with 182 more runs needed. Too many, it seemed, although there was enough of a nagging doubt in Brown’s mind, it appeared, that he was never quite committed to all-out attack.

Hamza was the most likely matchwinner. His third spell, immediately after tea, yielded a wicket with his first ball when late movement did for Luke Procter, snaffled by the diving Brown, but he gave way again after only four overs and did not return until the new ball became available with the race virtually run. No one else possessed his consistent threat.

Rossington and Brett Hutton, the other concussion sub, ploughed on with a resolution that will have pleased their head coach, David Ripley, who saw too little at Old Trafford. It had been a good contest, one which Sussex, having been in such a strong position after Jordan and Brown’s colossal performance on the first day had swung the game so heavily in their favour, might feel they should have made more of.

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