Bartlett satisfied with Northants' position after challenging opening day at Derby

Northants batter George BartlettNorthants batter George Bartlett
Northants batter George Bartlett
George Bartlett and Rob Keogh led a solid Northants batting display on the opening day of the Vitality County Championship Division Two match against Derbyshire at Derby.

The pair both scored half centuries and added 124 for the fifth wicket to get the innings back on track after Anuj Dal struck twice to reduce Northants to 121 for four.

Ricardo Vasconcelos (53) and Emilio Gay (45) shared an opening stand of 99 but it was Bartlett’s 76 and Keogh’s unbeaten 75 that gave Northants the advantage, closing on 297 for five.

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Ross Whiteley claimed his first championship victim for nearly three years but Blair Tickner was the pick of the attack and deserved more than one wicket from 21 overs.

Derbyshire began the day by naming all-rounder Whiteley in the team for his first championship match since he played for Worcestershire in June 2021.

Whiteley spent the morning in the field after Northants decided to bat in sunny conditions although both openers needed some good fortune to survive on a pitch offering assistance to the seamers.

South African fast bowler Daryn Dupavillon knocked Vasconcelos off his feet with a yorker first ball of the match although it was Tickner who posed the biggest threat.

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The New Zealander went past the bat numerous times in an outstanding six over opening spell that included four maidens and cost only three runs.

But the pressure eased once he was out of the attack with the other bowlers unable to maintain the same consistent line.

When Tickner was brought back on , Vasconcelos pulled him for four to reach his 50 from 89 balls but just when it was looking like a fruitless session for the home side, he moved one back in to have him lbw.

Northants would still have been satisfied with their position at lunch but the picture quickly changed after Gay was dismissed by the first ball of the afternoon session.

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It was an innocuous delivery from Dal but Gay played it into his stumps as he aimed to push it to the offside and Dal struck again in his next over.

Luke Procter had never looked comfortable and after facing 17 balls without scoring, he went across to glance and lost his leg stump.

There was an even bigger success for Derbyshire when Zak Chappell got one to straighten to bowl Karun Nair for six to leave Northants in danger of failing to build on the foundations laid by the openers.

Another wicket would have opened the door for Derbyshire but Bartlett and Keogh regrouped and batted through the rest of the session.

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Bartlett reached his 50 from 72 balls when he cover drove David Lloyd for his ninth four and by tea the pair had added 74 to shift the initiative back to the visitors.

Whiteley was brought into the attack after the interval and after Keogh guided him past gully for four to go to 50 from 103 balls, he broke the stand in his next over.Bartlett was surprised by a ball that lifted from just outside off stump and could only fend it to slip where Aneurin Donald took a simple catch.

It was an important breakthrough ahead of the second new ball which Derbyshire took immediately but Keogh and Justin Broad denied them any further success.

"I think we've had a pretty good day," said Bartlett.

"It was tough early on, there were passages where they bowled really well and we had to grind it out and face a lot of dot balls.

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"It looked like a good wicket and to be fair it played pretty well all day, there was a bit of inconsistent bounce but I think that will be there for the whole four days.

"It was a tight call on the toss but ultimately the right decision.

"Going into Saturday we need to get as many as we can and try and put the ball in the right areas and I think we'll get rewarded."

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