Wakely digs in to defy Derbyshire

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Alex Wakely stood in the way of Derbyshire’s bowlers for the second season in a row to keep Northamptonshire in the LV= County Championship match at Derby.

The 23-year-old scored two half-centuries against Derbyshire at Chesterfield last summer and frustrated them with another fifty on a hard-fought second day at the County Ground.

Wakely compiled 62 in four hours and, with the assistance of Niall O’Brien, who also made 62, rescued the visitors after they had slipped to 69 for four replying to Derbyshire’s 286.

James Middlebrook continued the fightback with an unbeaten 40 before bad light forced an early close with Northants 241 for seven, leaving the game in the balance.

Northants had started another chilly day in a precarious position on 28 for three, 258 behind, and Wakely and David Sales concentrated on blunting the Derbyshire seam attack, which tended to bowl too wide in the first hour.

Sales was on 15 for 38 balls before he finally lost concentration and edged a drive at Ross Whiteley low to third slip where Dan Redfern took a fine catch.

That proved to be the home side’s last success for 35 overs as Wakely and O’Brien dug in to add 78 in gloomy conditions, which forced the umpires to call for the floodlights to be switched on.

It was the brightest part of the game for much of the afternoon session, although Wakely did loft Wes Durston’s off-spin down the ground in a rare show of aggression to bring up his half-century from 185 balls.

Alex Wakely

Alex Wakely was one of two batsmen to compile patient innings of 62 as Northamptonshire moved towards first-innings parity against Derbyshire

His vigil was ended when he mis-judged the length and was lbw playing back to David Wainwright, who then spilled a catch at deep midwicket when O’Brien top-edged a pull on 38.

That proved costly as Northants accelerated after tea against the new ball with Middlebrook pulling Mark Footitt for six and driving him through the covers for two fours.

A top-edged pull over the slips gave O’Brien a fifty from 144 balls but, after batting for 200 minutes, he was lbw playing across the line at Whiteley.

David Willey stayed with Middlebrook for seven overs before he was lbw to a full delivery from Footitt.

Shortly afterwards the umpires decided that, even with the floodlights on, the light was not good enough to continue and play was abandoned seven overs early with Northants 45 runs behind.

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