Tony Palladino returned career-best figures of 7-53 as Derbyshire battled back sensationally on Day Three against Kent.
The visitors had looked in complete control overnight, leading by 226 runs with seven second innings wickets in hand.
However Derbyshire took those seven wickets for just 68 runs before moving to 168-2 at the close; chasing a target of 295 runs to win.
Any thoughts Kent had of batting Derbyshire out of the game quickly evaporated when, having reached 109-3, Michael Powell fell; caught Matt Lineker at mid-wicket off Tim Groenewald for 18.
That dismissal then acted as a catalyst as Stevens (0), Geraint Jones (2), James Tredwell (1) and Matt Coles (11) swiftly followed suit; the latter giving Palladino his fifth wicket of the innings with Kent reduced to 143-8.
The end was nigh for the visitors when Rob Key’s impressive knock came to an end as he became Palladino’s sixth victim; Richard Johnson taking a sharp catch up to the stumps and the Kent captain gone for 84.
It was to get even better for Palladino as Mark Davies fell to a sublime one-handed catch from David Wainwright to give the former Essex man career-best figures of 7-53.
An impressive morning in the field from Derbyshire ensured Kent were all out for 161 with Derbyshire needing 295 for victory; a target that looked destined to be far greater before the start of play.
In reply, a tricky three over spell prior to Lunch was safely negotiated, before Wayne Madsen and Matt Lineker began the process in the afternoon session of looking to chase down an improbable but not insurmountable 295 runs to win.
The pair stuck to their task well, providing the hosts with a perfect platform to build upon; reaching 83 without loss before Madsen fell, caught at the wicket off Coles for 30.
Just 12 more had been added when Lineker’s gritty knock of 45 came to an end; trapped LBW to Tredwell with Derbyshire requiring a further 200 runs.
Usman Khawaja and Wes Durston then saw their side to Tea with no further loss of wickets the game intriguingly poised with a further 182 runs required with eight wickets in hand; Derbyshire 113-2.
With the game back in the balance, the two batsmen then began tipping it marginally in Derbyshire’s favour, batting out the first hour of the final session positively as the runs required fell below 150.
The pair had added an unbeaten 73 for the third wicket before rain brought about a premature end to a day that had seen table-topping Derbyshire battle back brilliantly.
Khawaja (43*) and Durston (37*) will return for the final day as Derbyshire go in search of the 127 runs that will give them victory.
© 2013 Derbyshire County Cricket Club
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