Two late wickets - after an excellent half-century from Richard Johnson – completed a terrific day for Derbyshire against Middlesex at the County Ground.
Mark Footitt (3-69) claimed his 100th first-class wicket in the morning session, as the left-arm paceman, Matt Higginbottom (3-59) and Tim Groenewald (3-54) all claimed three apiece to dismiss Middlesex for 249 – trailing Derbyshire by 136 runs.
The hosts lost three early wickets in response, but a 52-run stand between Shivnarine Chanderpaul (32) and Johnson (59) ignited the hosts’ fightback, before a late flurry from Groenewald (20) helped Derbyshire post 160 in their second innings.
Footitt added the late wicket of Joe Denly to his three in the first innings, before Groenewald dismissed night-watchman Steven Finn to reduce Middlesex to 25-2 at stumps, still requiring another 272 runs to win on the final day.
The hosts wasted little time in claiming the last four Middlesex wickets, as the visitors fell from 197-6 to 249 all out on the penultimate morning at Derby.
John Simpson provided stubborn resistance adding 36 runs before he was superbly ran out by Chanderpaul running round from mid-on. Toby Roland-Jones was the second man out soon after when he was well-caught by Chesney Hughes at slip off Groenewald for 5.
Ollie Rayner was the only Middlesex batsman to enjoy any success on Day Three, as the batting all-rounder ended undefeated on 52. But shortly after reaching the feat, the visitors lost both Tim Murtagh (10) and Finn (0) in quick succession - both to Footitt - to be dismissed for 249.
Karl Krikken’s side struggled at the start of their second innings, however, losing three early wickets to enter lunch on 20-3, leading by just 156 runs.
But a useful 52-run fourth-wicket stand between Chanderpaul and Johnson settled the nerves and put the hosts on top entering the final session of the day. World number two Test batsman Chanderpaul was finally out for 32, but Johnson continued his excellent innings.
The wicket-keeper batsman produced a composed knock - striking eight fours - to top score with an excellent 59. The hosts, however, lost a flurry of wickets to slump from 116-4 to 136-8, but Groenewald (20) once again struck some lusty blows at the end of the inningsto help Derbyshire post 160.
Requiring 297 runs to win, Middlesex lost two late wickets to end the day in trouble on 25-2. Footitt first removed Denly for four, before night-watchman Finn was trapped LBW by Groenewald without scoring, leaving the visitors need 272 more runs to win, with eight wickets in hand, on the final day at Derby.
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