Hardus Viljoen took season-best figures of 7-80 to help give Derbyshire the edge after Day Two versus Sussex at the 1st Central County Ground.
The paceman bowled with good pace and accuracy to claim his third seven-wicket haul of his career and the best figures by a Derbyshire bowler at Hove since Geoff Miller in 1977.
Luke Wright top scored with an unbeaten 70 as he helped Sussex recover from 149-7 to 271 all out, still 67 runs short of Derbyshire’s first innings total of 338. The visitors closed on 31-1, extending their lead to 98 at stumps.
Viljoen said: “When it’s your day you have to just run with it. Credit to the other guys, they created pressure at the other end to give me the opportunity to take some wickets.
“It’s been a frustrating season because of injuries, but I am looking to finish it strongly and enjoy my cricket. It feels like I am in a good rhythm and that has been the case since I came to England. It seems if I don’t try too hard I can get into that rhythm and when I do I feel relaxed and I can bowl quickly.
“We’re in a good position after two days. We need to bat time tomorrow, graft it out and then back ourselves to take wickets again in the second innings.”
Derbyshire entered Day Two on 338-9, but they couldn’t add to their overnight score as Hamidullah Qadri was bowled first ball for nine. Harvey Hosein was unbeaten on 38.
The visitors made a good start with the ball with Angus Robson (1) caught by Alex Hughes at second slip off Harry Podmore (1-36) in the second over – his first wicket for the Club.
Dangerman Luke Wells and Stiaan van Zyl made a strong partnership together adding 59 before Viljoen took his first wicket of the day, bowling van Zyl and leaving Sussex at 62-2.
Viljoen then enjoyed a golden spell, removing Chris Nash (20), Wells (46) and Ben Brown (23) within six overs either side of lunch to put Derbyshire in the driving seat.
The Sussex wickets continued to tumble as Will Davis (1-82) removed Oliver Robinson without scoring before Viljoen picked up his fifth wicket to remove Jofra Archer for 10. It was Viljoen second five-wicket haul in three matches.
Sussex were struggling at 149-7, buy Luke Wright and David Wiese began to pull the home side back into the game, with the pair adding 80 for the eighth wicket in 24 overs.
But this was brought to an end by Qadri (1-31) who removed Wiese (47) just short of his half century.
Viljoen brought the Sussex innings to an end shortly after tea as he removed George Garton (18) before bowling Stuart Whittingham first ball to dismiss Sussex for 271.
Derbyshire lost one wicket in reply before stumps when Luis Reece was caught by at slip Nash off Archer for eight, but Ben Slater (13*) and Wayne Madsen (10*) remain firm to finish on 31-1, a lead of 98, when bad light and then rain stopped play.
The visitors, however, will have to do without Billy Godleman for the remainder of the match as he has been ruled out with a broken hand.
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