Alex Wakely and Luke Procter have revived Northamptonshire’s chances of pulling off a record-breaking run chase after another challenging day in Chesterfield.
As Derbyshire steadily built up their total during the majority of the first two sessions the prospects of a win seemingly diminished with each passing over, with Wayne Madsen making 116 and all-rounder Matthew Critchley 51.
The first session was always likely to be pivotal and Derbyshire were the team who went into lunch in a position of strength thanks to Madsen and Harvey Hosein. Both played patiently to deny Northants early wickets and although the bowlers maintained discipline on another stiflingly hot morning, there were few alarms for the batsmen.
But when the Northamptonshire bowlers made the most of the second new ball to take Derbyshire’s final five wickets for 51 runs the visitors had the 20-minute tea interval to take stock and plan their revival.
Nevertheless, the visitors still faced a mountain as Derbyshire’s second innings total of 342 had set 314 for the win, a record target for Chesterfield’s Queen’s Park, and the odds against them appeared to lengthen when they lost Ben Duckett and Ricardo Vasconcelos in the first 14 overs.
But Procter and Wakely showed good judgement and Northants’s hopes were starting to climb when Critchley got one to pop to have Procter caught at leg slip.
Another wicket would have made Derbyshire favourites but Wakely and Richard Levi batted through the last 10 overs to put the outcome in the balance.
Northamptonshire will go into the final day needing a further 140 runs with seven wickets in hand.