Derbyshire posted 274 on the second day of their LV County Championship encounter with Lancashire who finished on 36/3 with a lead of 55 runs.
The hosts seemed to be on course to post a sizable total as Wes Durston (85) and Billy Godleman (76) added 148 for the fourth-wicket partnership, but Lancashire fought back – as they did yesterday – to finish the second day on level terms.
A nervous eleven-over spell at the end of the day accounted for Paul Horton (2) and Luis Reece (8), as well a nightwatchman Peter Siddle, as Derbyshire ensured that their opponents did not reach close of play unscathed.
The visitors started well with the ball removing New-Zealander Martin Guptill and Derbyshire captain Wayne Madsen for no score as the hosts stumbled to 26/3. Australian Peter Siddle (2/60) was responsible for both of these wickets, on both occasions finding an edge to captain Tom Smith in the slips, before Durston and Godleman dominated proceedings.
Lancashire started the day by failing to score the eight runs they required to achieve a third batting bonus point as they were all out for 293, with overnight batsman Tom Bailey and Simon Kerrigan both falling for no score.
The visitors went on to lose their final four wickets for just one run, scored by not out batsman Kyle Jarvis, but claimed their first bowling bonus point inside 11 overs when Siddle claimed the crucial wickets of Guptill and then Madsen.
Derbyshire’s first victim, Ben Slater (11), fell lbw to Tom Bailey’s (2/60) fifth ball of the day after he replaced Jarvis (1/66), who later claimed the vital wicket of Godleman to help Lancashire’s recovery. Siddle then accounted for Guptill, who made a five-ball duck, and Madsen who faced one more delivery before he also found Smith at second slip.
The end of Siddle’s nine-over spell of two wickets for 24 runs signalled a turning point for Lancashire who struggled to find chances until Simon Kerrigan (3-21) claimed the important wicket of Durston to end his partnership with Godleman.
Derbyshire progressed to 74/3 by lunch and continued to erode Lancashire’s lead as Durston scored quickly to reach his half-century in 61 deliveries, scoring six boundaries in the process. Durston had played an missed several times and been fortunate not to get an edge to the slips, but Godleman’s innings was one of patience and this was reflected by the 88 balls it took him to reach the same milestone.
The introduction of Kerrigan proved to be vital to Lancashire’s afternoon revival, as the left-arm spinner claimed three wickets to help the visitors achieve a slender first-innings lead. Durston was approaching what would have been his seventh first-class hundred, but the all-rounder was caught by Ashwell Prince at long-off in an attempt to find his first six in an innings containing 12 fours.
At 174/4 the hosts were well placed to exceed Lancashire’s total, but the loss of Shiv Thakor on his Championship debut made him the third Derbyshire player to be removed for a duck. Bailey had bowled well all day and returned to claim his second wicket of the innings when Thakor edged to Horton at first slip.
Lancashire made two more crucial breakthroughs before tea as Jarvis was eventually rewarded for his consistently nagging line and length as he claimed the wicket of Godleman. The Derbyshire opener had played a calm innings but Jarvis struck with the first ball of his new spell forcing Godleman to edge behind to Alex Davies with a delivery that seemed to have a little more bounce than Godleman had become accustomed to.
The final wicket of the session came from another inspired bowling change as spinner Steven Croft removed Alex Hughes with only his second delivery of the game when Reece made a good diving catch at short-leg to dismiss Hughes for 37 with the score on 229/7.
Like Hughes before him, 18-year-old Harvey Hosein proved to be a tricky customer and added 33 useful runs to Derbyshire’s total, but Croft (2-9) claimed his second wicket for as many runs either side of tea. The Lancashire vice-captain lived up to his reputation as a superb fielder, taking a stunning one-handed catch off his own bowling to dismiss Hosein after a mature innings.
His credentials were then called into question when he spilled an opportunity to catch Tony Palladino (16), but his drop proved to be forgiving when the tail-ender was caught behind soon afterwards to give Kerrigan his second scalp of the innings.
The left-arm spinner then ended the innings when Mark Footitt (2) played a horrible leg-side slog which ended up in the hands of Bailey at mid-on, handing Lancashire a first-innings lead of just 19 runs.
Lancashire faced a potentially difficult eleven-over spell before close of play and suffered the loss of Horton and Reece (8), who mimicked their first innings failures when they were both removed for single-figure scores.
Horton was bowled for two when he received a wonderful yorker from Footitt (1-14) and Derbyshire claimed two wickets in as many deliveries when Reece edged to Hosein off Taylor (2-13). Night-watchman Siddle (5) became Taylor’s second victim when he edged to Wayne Madsen at first slip, as Lancashire reached 21/3.
South-African duo Alviro Petersen (3) and Ashwell Prince (9) saw Lancashire to close of play, but the game remains evenly poised heading into the third day at the County Ground.