Wayne Madsen hit a fine 116 against Northamptonshire, but the visitors closed an even Day Three on 174-3, chasing a further 140 runs at Queen’s Park.
Dan Wheeldon took his maiden first-class wicket, but Northamptonshire closed the day in a good position after Luke Procter hit a well-made 68, with captain Alex Wakely unbeaten on 48.
Openers Madsen and Harvey Hosein started the day strongly for Derbyshire, nullifying the Northamptonshire attack, to add 42 runs to the overnight score in the opening hour.
The pair looked in good touch as both continued to hit boundaries to bring up the half-century partnership in the 60th over.
Hosein fell for a well-made 38 as Seekkuge Prasanna claimed his third wicket of the match, bringing the fluent Matt Critchley to the crease to accelerate the hosts onto 249-5 at the lunch interval, leading by 220 runs.
With the wicket starting to turn, Critchley and Madsen remained resolute at the crease as the latter notched his 27th first-class century for the county, off 170 balls, including 11 fours, after the pair had passed the 50 partnership shortly after the interval.
Sanderson then came back into the attack with the new ball to end Madsen’s (116) fine innings as Richard Levi took a good catch at first slip.
Gary Wilson (6) fell soon after, before Critchley reached his fourth first-class fifty of the campaign from 82 balls, including six fours.
Derbyshire lost two more wickets in quick succession before there was a late rally from Hardus Viljoen (23) as Derbyshire set Northamptonshire 314 to win.
Openers Ben Duckett and Procter negotiated the opening eight overs in reply as they set out on their attempt at a record-breaking run chase.
However, fast bowler Wheeldon came into the attack to get the breakthrough, taking his maiden first-class wicket to remove Duckett (16) with his first delivery of the innings.
Ricardo Vasconcelos fell shortly after to Hamidullah Qadri as Derbyshire reduced the visitors to 48-2 in the 14th over.
But as with their first innings, Wakely came to the crease to steady the ship for Northamptonshire and he combined well with Procter to reach their half-century partnership.
A spinning and bouncing delivery, Critchley got the breakthrough to dismiss Procter (68) with a good ball, caught well by Madsen at leg slip.
Levi joined Wakely at the crease, and the pair looked assured as the visitors finished on 174-3, requiring 140 more runs to win.
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