Northamptonshire regained control of their Vitality County Championship Division Two match against Derbyshire thanks to strong performances from Emilio Gay and Ben Sanderson.

Emilio Gay looked his usual classy self as he finished unbeaten on 89 and Ben Sanderson took 5/76 for his 20th first-class five-wicket haul.

Ross Whiteley scored 54 in his first championship match for nearly three years and dominated a last wicket stand of 58 with Daryn Dupavillon to carry his team to 362 all out.

Wayne Madsen and Matt Lamb also scored half centuries for the home side but positive batting after tea strengthened Northamptonshire’s hopes of a first County Championship victory of the season, ending 195 for 2, a lead of 255.

Warm sunshine and a cloudless sky made it a good day for batting but Derbyshire lost a wicket to the fourth ball of the third morning.

Brooke Guest had to play at a delivery that Sanderson moved away enough to take the outside edge and was caught behind without adding to his overnight score.

Derbyshire almost gifted Northamptonshire another wicket in the next over when Lamb took on Luke Procter’s arm at mid on and was very fortunate not to be run out by a direct hit.

Lamb made the most of that escape by sharing a stand of 82 with Madsen who swung Rob Keogh for six on his way to a 118 ball 50 that contained only two fours.

Lamb dished out the same treatment to Liam Patterson-White before completing his 50 from 90 balls but the second new ball sent the innings into decline.

Sanderson got one to straighten to bowl Lamb before Siddharth Kaul tempted Aneurin Donald into playing at one he could have left and then found some late movement to have Anuj Dal caught at first slip to pick up two wickets in two balls.

Madsen was bowled trying to swing Kaul over mid on and when Sanderson had Zak Chappell and Blair Tickner taken at second slip, Derbyshire looked like conceding a substantial first innings lead.

But Whiteley played impressively, mixing watchful defence with controlled aggression, and with solid support from Dupavillon, kept his side in the game.

Whiteley, who pulled Kaul for six and drove Liam Patterson-White over the long on boundary, farmed the strike astutely while Dupavillon displayed a sound defence to frustrate the visitors. 

By the time Procter ducked one in to trap Whiteley lbw, the deficit had been cut to 60.

Ricardo Vasconcelos and Emilio Gay started very nicely for the visitors, building up a partnership of 90 runs before Vasconcelos was bowled charging wildly at David Lloyd’s off spin.

Patterson-White came to the crease with the lead at 150 and immediately took on the short ball until he was caught behind pulling at Chappell.

Gay and Karun Nair maintained the tempo against pace and spin in the closing overs, adding 76 from 77 balls to set a platform from where Northamptonshire can press on in the morning to give themselves enough time to try and bowl Derbyshire out on what is still a good pitch.