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Guptill and Borrington dominate on Day Three

Guptill and BorringtonPair add unbeaten 213 for the first wicket as the hosts take control. 

If the 22 run first innings lead was little more than handy, the margin of Derbyshire's advantage by the close of Day Three was anything but, as Guptill (131*) and Borrington (66*) ensured a day of toil for the Northants bowlers.

Earlier, in overcast and distinctly chilly morning conditions, the supporters that had turned out to witness Derbyshire’s progress could have asked little more of the bowlers in the opening stages.

James Middlebrook had added five to his overnight score of 40 before his useful innings was curtailed by Mark Footitt; who had the off-spinning all-rounder caught at the wicket inside the first 15 minutes of play.

Liam Daggett (4) then fell to the safe hands of  Martin Guptill at 2nd slip off Palladino, before Jack Brooks was well caught by Wes Durston low down at 1st slip – again off Palladino – for a duck; the visitors 264 all out having added 23 to their overnight total.

With honours more or less even at the halfway stage, a steady start to Derbyshire’s reply was imperative and all the signs were that the hosts were going to be made to work hard to post a commanding total as Brooks had Paul Borrington dropped by David Sales at 2nd slip in the third over.

Scares between that point and lunch however were few and far between as Borrington and Guptill batted stubbornly and defiantly to guide Derbyshire to 19-0 off as many overs; before rain brought a halt to play five minutes before the scheduled break for Lunch.

The light rain that had hampered the latter stages of the morning session had relented by 1:50pm, ensuring just a 16 minute delay.

Having set the foundations pre-Lunch, the watchful pair looked to be more expansive; doubling the total from just the next three overs. In fact 20-0 from 20 overs had become 47-0 from 23.

The score had advanced to 70 before Northants were given another chance as Guptill was dropped on 43 by Alex Wakeley at 1st slip off Chaminda Vaas.

It was a missed opportunity the visitors would rue as the New Zealand opener promptly brought about his 50 – coming from 90 balls with seven fours – before bringing up the century opening stand with a resounding maximum over deep mid wicket.

With the remainder of the session safely negotiated, Derbyshire had reached 124 without loss at Tea; a lead of 146 with four sessions remaining in the match.

Borrington had played an effective supporting role to the more aggressive Guptill and the Academy graduate had reached 42 before being put down at 1st slip – once again off Wakeley – before immediately steering the ball on to the onside to bring up 150 for Derbyshire.

The next landmark belonged to Guptill, who was soon bringing up a well-deserved second First Class century for Derbyshire, coming from 135 balls, including 11 fours and a six. It was the sixth First Class century of the opener’s career.

Shortly after, Borrington wasted little time in reaching a milestone of his own, as he brought up a resolute 50 from 177 balls with five fours.

An impressive knock from Guptill looked to have been halted abruptly as an uncharacteristic mistake saw substitute fielder Con De Lange given what was little more than an elementary catch at mid-wicket; only for the South African to offer a reprieve.

As the clouds above The County Ground ominously positioned themselves lower and lower, Borrington thrashed a ball elegantly off the back foot through the covers for four to bring up the 200 partnership; the first double century opening stand since Chris Rogers and Wayne Madsen achieved the feat, ironically against Northamptonshire, back in 2010.

However the pair were unable to add too many more to the tally, as the umpires were forced to acknowledge the clouds that had been slowly descending on the ground and reluctantly brought a halt to proceedings with Derbyshire 213-0; thus bringing a premature end to the day with 15 further overs scheduled.

Guptill 131* and Borrington 66* will resume in the morning with Derbyshire an almost insurmountable 235 runs ahead with all 10 second innings wickets remaining as they look to force victory on Easter Sunday, the final day.

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