Northamptonshire is well placed to win a second consecutive Specsavers County Championship game and move off the bottom of the table after outplaying Glamorgan on the third day at Sophia Gardens.
While the second and third sessions of the day belonged to Northamptonshire, the first saw Glamorgan threaten to put the visitors under pressure with five wickets before lunch. But Ricardo Vasconcelos and Steven Crook first steadied the ship before taking the game away from the Welsh county with a superb 147-run partnership for the sixth wicket.
When play resumed on another glorious morning, Ben Duckett and Luke Procter extended their opening partnership to 208, and surpass the previous record for that wicket against Glamorgan, established by Brian Reynolds and Mickey Norman at Northampton in 1962.
Procter, who made an assured 70, was the first to go, when his inside edge off van Der Gugten was well caught by Cooke, and three overs later Duckett’s season best of 133 from154 balls which included 22 fours, ended when he mishit a short ball from Rory Smith to midwicket.
The third wicket then fell for the addition of only seven runs, when Alex Wakely sliced a drive to second slip, and the Glamorgan bowlers’ efforts were rewarded further when Richard Levi and Adam Rossington perished in quick succession.
Any hopes Glamorgan might have had of a further collapse were dashed by Vasconelos – who put together his second half-century of the match – and Crook, who extended Northamptonshire’s lead to over 300.
After scoring 76, Crook was bowled, heaving at Smith, who then had Vasconelos caught at slip for 79. The tail surrendered in their quest for quick runs, before Wakely declared two overs before tea with the total at 406-9.
This set Glamorgan a massive 434 to win, with 33 overs to navigate in the third session and then a full day on Thursday.
The hosts made a promising start, but were soon 54-2, Nick Selman giving cover point a simple catch from Procter’s second ball, then Jack Murphy, shortly after being struck on the helmet, guiding one from Nathan Buck to third slip.
Usman Kahwaja began where he left off after his first innings century with some clean striking of the ball and quickly built a 50-run partnership with Owen Morgan.
But the Vasconcelos rounded off his superb individual day with a fine catch, juggling the ball three times at short leg after Khawaja had firmly struck a ball off Seekkuge Prasanna. With the danger man gone for just 38 Prasanna then took his second wicket when Morgan’s push was deflected by first slip to second.
This left Glamorgan on 121-4 at the close of play, still 313 runs away from a win.
You can see Ricardo Vasconcelos’s post-day reaction now on the Northamptonshire app, available to download now on iOS and Android phones and apps, and tune into the BBC Cricket website for live commentary from 11am on Thursday morning!