Palladino makes champions work

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Warwickshire made a healthy start to their LV= County Championship title defence at home to Derbyshire, only to be held up by Tony Palladino’s defiant 68.

After losing the toss, the newly promoted side initially battled hard in the face of predictable swing and seam movement, but were then undermined by a middle-order collapse that saw four wickets go down for the addition of 12 runs.

In conditions that provided more obvious assistance to a home seam attack missing Chris Woakes, Keith Barker and Boyd Rankin, it was spinner Jeetan Patel who sparked the flurry of wickets, striking three times while also seeing Ross Whiteley run out off his bowling.

Yet Palladino went on to lead a spirited recovery from 117 for seven and a 10th-wicket partnership of 55 with Mark Turner lifted Derbyshire to a creditable 226 all out.

Varun Chopra and Ian Westwood negotiated a tricky four-over spell as Dougie Brown's men closed on 14 without loss, a second evening stoppage for bad light heralding stumps.

Just 50 runs came from a hard-fought morning session, which featured two wickets for Chris Wright, Warwickshire’s leading wicket-taker in 2012 who was today handed a new four-year contract.

Billy Godleman fell for two, caught at first slip by Chopra, and Wright removed Wayne Madsen in similar fashion during a lengthy opening spell that produced excellent figures of 11-7-15-2.

Chris Wright & Warwickshire

Chris Wright, who today signed a new contract with Warwickshire, celebrates one of his three wickets. Derbyshire were subsequently grateful to 68 from Tony Palladino as they fought hard to reach 226

Wes Durston and Shivnarine Chanderpaul rode their luck in making it through to lunch, with both men surviving more than one strong appeal for leg-before and the former dropped by Patel in the gully after slashing hard at Rikki Clarke.

Durston failed to make the most of his reprieve and was lbw to Oliver Hannon-Dalby soon after the resumption, although the successful bowler was then hit for three consecutive fours in an over costing 15 as Dan Redfern – comfortably the most fluent batsman on show - counter-attacked with a number of stylish off-side drives.

Warwickshire quickly stunted their opponents’ fightback as Patel, finding more turn than may have been expected on day one, enjoyed success with three of his first 19 deliveries.

The New Zealander’s third ball ended Redfern’s eye-catching stay on 34 and Chanderpaul, whose 15 spanned two hours and 21 minutes, soon became a second lbw victim in quick succession.

Whiteley then slipped in the middle of the pitch after being sent back by Chesney Hughes and was run out, while wicketkeeper Tom Poynton became Patel’s third victim when edging to Clarke at first slip.

The Wright-Chopra combination enjoyed further success after tea when Hughes fell for 20, but a short delay followed as the players were brought off for bad light – despite the Edgbaston floodlights being in use.

Clarke claimed a deserved breakthrough when the teams returned as former Warwickshire man Tim Groenewald was held at second slip.

Yet Palladino, who was fortunate not to be caught at cover off Clarke soon after, refused to give in and prospered alongside Turner despite the acceptance of the second new ball.

Derbyshire’s number nine brought up his fifty – and his team’s first batting point of the summer – with a leg-side four off Hannon-Dalby that was immediately followed by a pulled six.

Palladino had a championship-best 68 to his name by the time he holed out to long-off, giving Tom Milnes his only wicket of the day.

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