Critchley claims five-for, then falls 16 runs short of second century for the match as hosts hold healthy advantage

Derbyshire 390 and 268 for 5 (Critchley 84, Madsen 66) lead Worcestershire 305 (Fell 69, Wessels 60, Critchley 5-67) by 353 runs

“What’s the point of Derbyshire?” asked Michael Atherton a decade or so ago. Anticipation is growing that the answer lies in the figure of Matt Critchley. He is three days into one of the finest individual performances in Derbyshire’s history, a performance that was on the verge of something quite remarkable only to falter at the last.

Derbyshire’s admirable statistician David Griffin was feverishly trying to unearth whether Critchley really had fallen 16 runs short of becoming the first county cricketer to make a century in each innings as well as take five wickets in between. If the feat would have been remarkable, its foundering was humdrum as he fell prey to an innocent little inswinger from Daryl Mitchell that bowled him through the gate.

Critchley’s legspin remains central to Derbyshire’s attempts to dismiss Worcestershire on the final day which may mean Griffin’s work is not yet done. We are not yet sure what the question will be but the odds are that Garnet Lee, a recruit from Nottinghamshire a century or so ago, will be the answer.

Derbyshire lead by 353 with five wickets remaining. If an enterprising stand of 129 in 27 overs between Critchley and Wayne Madsen had raced ahead a little longer that lead would have been 400 and an overnight declaration would have been inevitable.

But Mitchell also had Madsen lbw and, with the captain, Billy Godleman, resting a groin injury, conservatism crept into Derbyshire’s approach: 59 in the last 20 overs with Worcestershire there for the taking.

More to follow

David Hopps writes on county cricket for ESPNcricinfo @davidkhopps

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