Tony Palladino took 4-66 as Derbyshire fought back well with the ball and Middlesex closed Day One on 350-8 in the Specsavers County Championship match at Lord’s.
The experienced seamer struck three times in two overs to redress the balance in the final hour after Sam Robson earlier hit 134 and Max Holden added 96 not out.
After being put into bat, Robson was fluent and aggressive in the opening ten overs, whilst Nick Gubbins was more watchful as the Middlesex openers went past 50 without loss.
It took a trademark quick, darting delivery from Viljoen to break the partnership in the 20th over as Gubbins was lbw for 20 with the score 64-1.
Stephen Eskinazi (35) batted well alongside Robson, but like Eskinazi he failed to go on and was lbw to Matt Critchley after lunch, bringing Dawid Malan to the crease.
He struck three fours in his 16, but was undone by Viljoen’s pace and caught by Luis Reece, making his return to the first team after suffering a broken metatarsal at the end of May.
20-year-old Max Holden became Robson’s third partner with whom he reached a 50-run partnership and the pair guided Middlesex to 219-3 at tea, completing a commanding first two sessions for the hosts.
Critchley found turn from the Nursery End, but Middlesex marched on after tea, picking off the bad balls to pass 250 and close in on a third bonus batting point.
Derbyshire took the new ball at the first opportunity and the move paid dividends soon after for Palladino, who had Robson caught in the slips for 134.
A second for the seamer with the very next ball and the wicket of James Harris (0) in his next over changed the prospects for Derbyshire, who fought back well in the final hour.
The 35-year-old struck again soon after as Martin Anderson (3) became his 49th first-class victim of the summer.
Palladino’s spell of accurate swing was complimented by Lockie Ferguson’s natural pace and he picked up the wicket of James Fuller (17) from the Nursery End as Derbyshire finished the day strongly.
Four-day cricket is back! Derbyshire host their final Specsavers County Championship match of the season against Gloucestershire from Monday 24 September. Buy your tickets in advance and save.