Madsen locks up Derbyshire draw

14 April 2019

Three years ago almost to the day, Derbyshire batsman Wayne Madsen scored an unbeaten second innings century at Bristol to secure his side a draw. Now 35, Madsen exceeded that effort on a chilly Sunday with 204 not out to block any hope of a Gloucestershire victory, in doing so passing 15,000 runs for Derbyshire in all cricket.

The visitors had started the day with a lead of 38, and only 13 runs had been added when a spectacular catch by Chris Dent off Benny Howell removed Tom Lace for 57, his second half century of the match. 

Thereafter however, Madsen and Alex Hughes first soaked up valuable time and then went on to break Derbyshire's record fourth wicket stand at Bristol, which had stood since 1901. 

When the players shook hands, Madsen had batted for seven and a half hours, and Hughes completed his own unbeaten hundred to take the visitors to 388-3 declared, 329 runs in front.

Gloucestershire began the final day needing to change the tempo of the match in order to win it. Neither side had enjoyed a long period of supremacy, and a modest run rate on an increasingly docile wicket suggested it would be hard for either side to force a result. Gloucestershire's chances weren't helped by the absence of Josh Shaw from the attack due to injury.

Derbyshire resumed at 97-2 in their second innings, Middlesex loanee Tom Lace completing his second fifty of the match in the fourth over. If Gloucestershire were looking for some inspiration to give them an early lift, skipper Chris Dent provided it with a flying effort at slip off Howell to split Derbyshire's overnight pair and leave Lace heading for the pavilion in disbelief for 57.

Their net advantage at that stage was 51 with seven wickets in hand, but Madsen was in no mood to allow Gloucestershire to chip away at the middle order. At one stage he batted for 39 overs without striking a boundary, reaching his fifty from 145 balls. 

Partner Hughes showed a little more intent, once using his feet to Higgins to whip the all rounder to the boundary at mid wicket. Without Shaw, Benny Howell economically stepped into the third seamer role but when he was replaced Hughes struck the first six of the match over deep square leg off Harry Hankins.

With so much time to play their shots, some gentle turn for Graeme van Buuren also did little to trouble Derbyshire until lunch, when the fourth wicket pair had added 76 in almost equal shares. The lead was up to 127, and the outcome of the match looked increasingly inevitable.

What was unexpected was the speed with which Madsen completed his hundred, capitalising on a loose first over from Miles Hammond to plunder three boundaries.  It took 219 balls in all, but Madsen's second fifty had taken only 74 deliveries as he reached three figures after almost five hours at the crease and, neatly, in the final over before the second new ball was due.

Higgins and Matt Taylor tried again for a breakthrough without any joy, and thereafter skipper Chris Dent was realistic in asking van Buuren and Hammond to bowl the bulk of the remaining overs as Madsen and Hughes batted in untroubled fashion to close out the draw, the experienced Madsen ticking up a third half century from a further 72 deliveries with five additional boundaries. 

Hughes, who signed a new three year contract at Derby during the winter, also showed good concentration after reaching his own half half century to press relentlessly on towards his own hundred, which was sealed after a misfield from 211 balls with eleven fours and a six.

Madsen, however, wasn't finished, and with liberal use of the reverse sweep his progress from 150-200 was his fastest fifty of the four, coming in only 52 balls. In all, he hit 21 boundaries.

Gloucestershire take 11 points from their first Championship outing of the season, one in which Harry Hankins made his debut. He bowled 33 overs in the match without taking a wicket, but will have learned a lot about how controlled spells are needed throughout a day's play on pitches which offer little assistance. 

Championship cricket is now put to one side until the trip to Glamorgan in mid May. Over the next three weeks, the 50-over Royal London One-Day Cup takes centre stage, with Gloucestershire starting their South Group matches against Surrey at the Bristol County Ground on Wednesday.

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