A good performance with bat and ball, including a career-best display from Matt Critchley, helped Derbyshire enjoy the better of Day Two against Northamptonshire at Queen’s Park.
Alex Wakely hit a fine 106, but four wickets from the economical Tony Palladino (4-33) and 4-88 from Critchley restricted Northamptonshire to a first innings lead of 29.
Chesterfield-born Ben Slater made 53 and Wayne Madsen closed on an unbeaten 52 to guide the hosts to 147-4 at the close, a lead of 118 runs.
Nightwatchman Nathan Buck (12) survived the opening half an hour with Wakely, before being caught at mid-off by Billy Godleman in Critchley’s first over of the day.
The Northamptonshire captain looked resolute and assured as Richard Levi (7) left a straight one and was bowled by Hardus Viljoen.
Building a partnership with Steven Crook (60), Wakely reached his century in the 54th over shortly after lunch as the visitors looked set to forge a substantial first innings lead.
Critchley returned from the Lake End to break the 120-run stand, producing a delivery with turn and bounce to find the edge of Wakely’s bat, leaving Wayne Madsen to take a good catch at first slip.
Josh Cobb was aggressive in his brief 13, but with the scores level he gave Critchley a return catch for a sharp dismissal and the lower-order of Northamptonshire began to collapse in the heat at Chesterfield.
Crook was out for a well-made 60, lbw to a delivery from Palladino which nipped back off the surface. Seekkuge Prasanna was out the following ball, and Northamptonshire soon slipped to 280-9 as Critchley claimed his fourth on his home ground.
Tall quick Brett Hutton was last man out and the visitors were all out for 289, after earlier being 238-5.
Godleman and Slater reached 37 relatively untroubled, but the wiley Ben Sanderson got the breakthrough shortly before the tea interval, removing the captain for 16 as Ricardo Vasconcelos took a sharp catch.
After both being dismissed early in the first innings, Madsen and Slater looked comfortable and fluent as they quickly took Derbyshire past 100.
The 26-year-old opener brought up his sixth half-century of the red ball campaign, but was out for 53 and Alex Hughes was out for nine as Northamptonshire restricted Derbyshire after an 86-run second-wicket stand.
But despite the late wickets, in which nightwatchman Dan Wheeldon fell for two, Derbyshire enjoyed the better of the day and closed on 147-4, leading by 118 runs.
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