County Championship: Hardus Viljoen leads Derbyshire fightback against Middlesex

Hardus Viljoen
Hardus Viljoen made his only Test appearance for South Africa against England in 2016
Specsavers County Championship Division Two, The 3aaa County Ground, Derby (day one):
Derbyshire 265: Viljoen 60, Harris 4-68, Helm 3-46
Middlesex 45-3: Robson 15*
Middlesex (3 points) trail Derbyshire (2 points) by 220 runs

Hardus Viljoen's half-century led a Derbyshire fightback on the opening day of their Division Two match against Middlesex at the County Ground.

The hosts had slipped to 167-7 before South African seamer Viljoen, supported by Tony Palladino, struck an unbeaten 60 to nudge them to 265 all out.

Ravi Rampaul then had opener Max Holden caught behind in the third over of Middlesex's reply.

But Sam Robson dug in for 15 off 88 balls as they reached 45-3 at stumps.

Robson and Hilton Cartwright looked to be guiding the visitors to the close only two down, but Cartwright fell to Viljoen with four overs of the day remaining.

Middlesex, relegated from Division One last year, beat Northants in their first County Championship fixture of 2018.

The visitors were hampered by the loss of England paceman Toby Roland-Jones, who was limited to just five overs because of a back injury.

Middlesex head coach Richard Scott:

"They came out as a batting unit with a lot of intent so we're disappointed that we were chasing the game a bit although we did get ourselves back in a strong position mid-afternoon.

"Viljoen played well but again we've been more disciplined than that in the past and it's unusual for us to go for four an over. But with a bowler down, to bowl them out for 265 you take.

"We will assess Toby overnight and then have a recovery session in the morning and see how he pulls up. If he's still stiff in his back, we'll have to have further investigation."

Derbyshire's Hardus Viljoen:

"It was tough out there. I knew it was going to take a bit of hard graft. Tony batted really well to stay there.

"Before the game we would have taken 265 but there's still a lot of hard work to go. I believe we are in a good position and our destiny is in our own hands at this stage.

"It's a really good wicket. It's a touch drier than I thought it was going to be with all the rain around but, if you keep to your discipline, you will be rewarded. You need to have patience as a bowler."

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