History was made in more ways than one when Derbyshire travelled to Cardiff to tackle Glamorgan in their latest Specsavers County Championship, Second Division match yesterday.
For not only was it the county’s first-ever day/night Championship fixture, played with a pink ball, they also gave a debut to their youngest player to represent Derbyshire in the competition. He was Hamidullah Qadri, a 16-year-old former resident of Afghanistan, who brought back memories of Fred Swarbrook, the youngest Derbyshire player to play first-class cricket when he took the field against Cambridge University back in 1967.
After winning the toss, Derbyshire made 288 on the back of fine half-centuries from Wayne Madsen and Tom Milnes. Glamorgan finished on five without loss and resume their innings when play starts at 2 pm today.
As for the pink ball, at the end of an interesting day’s cricket, Glamorgan’s head coach Robert Croft said: “After 40 overs, the ball seemed to swing around, but I put it down to good bowling from Marchant de Lange and Graham Wagg.
“If the ECB and world cricket are serious about the pink ball in four-day cricket and Test cricket, we have to play more games with it and get people used to it.”
Derbyshire lost their first wicket in the fourth over when Luis Reece was lbw to Timm van der Gugten for a single before Madsen and Billy Godleman added 98 for the second wicket. Madsen was the dominant partner, contributing 70 from 107 balls with ten fours before he touched one from van der Gugten to wicketkeeper Chris Cooke.
Captain Godleman rarely played an attacking stroke during his innings and after facing 118 balls for his 34, with only four boundaries, he eventually attempted an expansive stroke against de Lange which resulted in another catch for Cooke.
The South African seamer bowled an impressive spell and claimed another wicket when Gary Wilson also went caught behind. Wagg then claimed two wickets in successive overs when Alex Hughes was leg before for 32 and Jeevan Mendis was well caught low down at second slip by Nick Selman.
With the penultimate ball before the second break, Derbyshire were reduced to 157-7 when Tom Taylor became van der Gugten’s third victim and Cooke’s fifth when he was caught behind.
De Lange said at the interval that “the pink ball didn’t give a great deal of assistance to the bowlers, who had to work hard to keep the shine on it”. It certainly didn’t give much assistance afterwards because Derbyshire rallied well in the hands of Milnes and Daryn Smit, who added 66 for the eighth wicket. Both batsmen went on to reach their highest scores of the season, with Milnes making 53 and Smit 41.
After reaching his half-century, Milnes was caught, again by Cooke, off Michael Hogan, while Smit, who has experienced a disappointing first season for Derbyshire, was caught in the gully off de Lange.
When the ninth wicket fell, it brought Qadri to the crease, and he got off the mark by nicking Hogan through the slips for four. He then played a more authentic stroke, driving the same bowler to the long-off boundary, but he was left on 11no when Hogan ended the innings by having Tony Palladino caught at mid-off. Derbyshire finished short of 300, gaining two batting points, but would have been pleased by their recovery.
Despite the day/night experiment and play stretching to 9.52pm, there were no more than 100 spectators left in the ground at the close, with a source from Glamorgan saying that it had been “an average first-day Championship crowd”.