Guptill gorges on Northants attack
New Zealand batsman Martin Guptill fired Derbyshire into a strong position on day three of their LV= County Championship Division Two match against Northamptonshire.
With so little to choose between the two sides at the end of the first innings, Guptill set Derbyshire off to the perfect start second time around with an authoritative unbeaten 131. He and opening partner Paul Borrington put on an unbroken 213 for the first wicket.
Northants did not help their own cause by dropping three catches off the pair and, at the close, Derbyshire had an overall lead of 235, having earlier bowled the visitors out for 264.
Borrington’s share of the opening stand was 66 not out. The 23-year-old faced 226 balls in an admirably defiant effort, which saw him content to play second fiddle to Guptill.
However, both players had to be exceptionally cautious at the beginning of their innings as Northants’ seamers gained plenty of swing in overcast conditions.
The Derbyshire pair had to ride their luck at times as the ball regularly beat the outside edge, but both began to settle into their stride after lunch, with Guptill leading the way.
He was given a life on 43 when Alex Wakely put down a chance at first slip and the same fielder also later spilled another chance in the same position when Borrington was on 42.
Guptill brought up his century with a steered single to third man off the last ball of the 51st over. It was his sixth in first-class cricket and second for Derbyshire, coming off 135 balls with 11 fours and a six.
On 108, Guptill was dropped again as substitute fielder Con de Lange put down a steepling chance at deep midwicket and, when bad light brought an early close with 15 overs to go, he was edging towards his highest score for the county of 143.
Derbyshire earned their first-innings lead of 22 when they claimed the last three Northants wickets for 23 runs in the first 10 overs of play.
James Middlebrook had added only five to his overnight score of 40 when he attempted to force Mark Footitt away off the back foot and was caught by wicketkeeper Tom Poynton to make it 252 for eight in the fifth over of the day.
There were seven fours and a six in Middlebrook’s valuable innings and with him went Northants’ chance of nudging into a lead. Tony Palladino finished the visitors off as Lee Daggett and Jack Brooks both provided the slip cordon with catches.