Alviro Petersen erased the memory of his previous visit to Derby with an accomplished century that revived Lancashire’s fortunes on the opening day of the LV County Championship Division Two match against Derbyshire.
The 34-year-old South African bagged a king pair playing for Glamorgan at the 3aaa County Ground in 2011 but he celebrated his return with 115 on his first-class Lancashire debut and shared a fifth wicket stand of 135 with captain Tom Smith who made a determined 38 from 117 balls.
Petersen became Mark Footitt’s 200th first-class victim after tea but by then Lancashire were back in the game after Derbyshire had reduced them to 61 for four at lunch and they closed on 292 for 8.
Derbyshire’s decision to bowl first came as no surprise given the overcast conditions and the visitors were soon in trouble, losing both openers in the first five overs of a chilly day.
Paul Horton was undone by some late movement from Tony Palladino while Luis Reece got only half forward to Footitt and lost his middle stump.
Petersen and Ashwell Prince did well to survive with both players batting out of their crease to combat the swing as only two boundaries came in the first 15 overs.
Prince was starting to assert himself, taking three fours from a Tom Taylor over, but was bowled aiming to drive Shiv Thakor through mid-wicket and Derbyshire completed an excellent morning’s work when Steven Croft was lbw playing back to Palladino.
Batting became easier after the sun broke through but Petersen and Smith still had to earn their runs against an attack which kept its discipline throughout the day.
Petersen played with increasing authority but Smith’s innings was just as impressive given the circumstances and the pair looked like batting through the afternoon until Smith got a bottom-edge trying to cut Alex Hughes.
By then, Petersen had reached three figures from 149 balls, surviving a difficult swirling chance on 90 to long on off Wes Durston, but his first century since his 155 for Somerset against Lancashire last June was richly deserved.
It was a surprise when he mistimed a pull and was caught at square leg shortly after tea but Alex Davies (40) and Peter Siddle (46) reinforced Lancashire’s position with a stand of 86 in 26 overs although Derbyshire hit back by removing them both in the final two overs.
Derbyshire captain Wayne Madsen said: “If I’m honest I thought we probably let them off the hook a little bit. We had chances to have them in a lot of trouble although to be fair Smith and Petersen played well but after winning the toss we were hoping to keep them under 250 or 270 but we feel we are still well in the game.”