Derbyshire 164 for 2 (Madsen 57* Guest 50*) trail Nottinghamshire 618 for 8 dec (Duckett 241, Hameed 196, Patterson-White 54) by 454 runs
Duckett had four Tests in Bangladesh and India at the tail end of 2016, but whereas England had imagined an inventive player against spin bowling, they found a batter whose technique was unravelled by Ravi Ashwin. He followed that up in 2017-18 by spilling beer over Jimmy Anderson in a Perth bar when he was part of the Lions shadow squad which predictably turned out to be an unsuccessful gambit as far as career progression was concerned.
Hameed does not drink beer, never mind throw it. He made 82 in a Test debut against India in Rajkot, alongside Duckett, before a collapse in form led to a five-year absence and an unrewarding return against India and Australia. England gave him a second chance – but they did so in about the most difficult circumstances imaginable.
Impressive stuff, and intriguing that the previous day both had credited experience on the sub-continent with giving them the know-how to succeed – a reminder, if it was needed, that England Lions tours should be a key part of young players’ development.
So get ’em picked then, get ’em picked. Because that is precisely what people were saying when they were first selected because everybody gets excited by the sensation that they are backing the next undiscovered superstar. Nobody says that now that reality has dawned and deficiencies have been unpicked.
A Derbyshire attack on England’s hottest day was also no test of Test calibre. Even allowing for the exacting conditions, they offered so many freebies that maybe a course on Excessive Gift Giving Psychology is in order. But both are better players and both bat in the top three where England’s deficiencies are most obvious and will creep into the consciousness again once Bazball loses its lustre.
So much for the first 20 balls of the day. What about the rest? Once Duckett departed, Hameed sought to maintain his balance on a Nottinghamshire ferry that suddenly started to list badly. He never quite recovered his composure after he was struck on the helmet by George Scrimshaw and was seventh out for 196, a drive against Aitchison picking out backward point and denying him a first double-hundred of his career. His fling back of his head in disappointment spoke volumes. Aitchison had lifted his standards markedly, but on the evidence of the previous day just don’t expect too much from him on a Greek holiday in mid-August.