Gleeson five wicket haul boosts Lancs promotion bid
Five wickets by Richard Gleeson and a fine century by Derbyshire captain Billy Godleman were the highlights of an eventful opening day in this Specsavers County Championship encounter at Emirates Old Trafford.
Gleeson’s fourth five-wicket haul this season helped Lancashire bowl their opponents out for 244 and by the close the Red Rose reply had reached 20-1.
Godleman and Luis Reece made a bright start with an opening partnership of 66 runs in 20 overs after winning the toss.
It was Glenn Maxwell, playing his last match for Lancashire before returning to Australia, who made the breakthrough when Reece edged behind to wicketkeeper Dane Vilas after making 20.
Godleman looked in good touch, finding the short boundary in front of the temporary stand with regularity, and he went to his half century off 75 balls when square-driving his eighth four though point off Gleeson.
It had been a good morning for Derbyshire as they approached lunch on 107-1 with Godleman and Wayne Madsen in tandem but the visitors were rocked by a great spell of 4-15 in six overs by Gleeson either side of the break.
With three balls remaining before lunch Madsen was lbw for 27, Leus du Plooy had all three stumps rearranged two overs into the afternoon after making 2 while Alex Hughes edged behind for a four-ball duck to leave Derbyshire suddenly struggling on 123-5.
Matt Critchley helped Godleman stave off a possible collapse with some solid support in a 58-run partnership in 18 overs for the sixth wicket during the afternoon before falling lbw to Tom Bailey for 22.
Godleman, who had generally become more restrained in his stroke play as he attempted to rebuild, hit a straight six off Bailey to take the total past 150 in the 50th over and the left handed batsman became the first Derbyshire batsman to score a century against Lancashire since Dean Jones in 1996 when he reached three figures just before tea with the visitors 198-6.
The Derbyshire captain was holding the innings together well but he became the seventh wicket to fall soon after the break when trapped lbw for 111 by a searing yorker from Saqib Mahmood after almost five hours batting having faced 212 balls with 16 fours and a six.
Mahmood then made it two wickets in two balls beating Anuj Dal all ends up when his next delivery took out middle stump.
Three wickets had fallen for four runs when Gleeson uprooted Fynn Hudson-Prentice’s middle stump to take his fifth wicket on his way to figures of 5-64 and it took some last wicket hitting by Hamidullah Qadri (17 not out) and Ravi Rampaul (14) to get Derbyshire up to 244 all out, Rampaul the last man out after slicing Mahmood to Matt Parkinson at short third man.
Lancashire lost Alex Davies for 4 to a catch from top edge pull off Rampaul that was beautifully judged by Madsen running across from slip to short fine leg.
Keaton Jennings (12 not out) and Josh Bohannon (4 not out) safely negotiated the remaining overs to reach stumps on 20-1.
Richard Gleeson felt it had been a good day for the Red Rose.
“I think we’d have been happy to bowl them out for 244 at the start of the day when they chose to have a bat,” he said.
Gleeson enjoyed a great spell either side of lunch to put the skids under the Derbyshire innings, and he said: “It’s always nice to take wickets. Maybe not so much at the end of it when my legs were cramping up a bit!
“But it was just reversing a little bit and that gives you a little edge.
“I’ve enjoyed bowling here (this season),” he added. “It’s been quite good to me, and it’s always nice to take wickets and be contributing.”
While Gleeson was taking wickets, Glenn Maxwell bowled a great containing spell at the other end, something acknowledged by the fast bowler although he added: “I wish he’d slow down a bit, and give me a little bit more rest!
“But he gave us great control and put in a great spell as well.
Looking ahead to the second day Gleeson said: “Wickets are always hard to come by here, so we are setting out to try and get a lead tomorrow.
“If we can get through the first hour tomorrow, when it might be a little bit dewy which can help soften the ball up, we can put the pressure back on them.
“It’s a used wicket but the ball didn’t turn much off the straight. If you bowled a little bit wider there was a bit more turn there.
And Gleeson said there is hardly any talk about possible promotion around the dressing room.
“We are just doing our thing and taking every session, every day as it comes,” he said.
“If we keep doing the right things for the team and if results go our way then good. But it’s not something we are focussing on.
“There are three games to go; it’s in our hands, so we are just focussing on trying to win this game.”
Photos: Barry Mitchell
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