Hardus Viljoen took 4-51as Derbyshire battled back in the evening session to leave the Specsavers County Championship match away to Northamptonshire nicely poised after Day Three.
Ricardo Vasconcelos top-scored with a well-made 62 as Northamptonshire closed on 198-8 with a lead of 231 runs after 14 wickets fell at Wantage Road.
Earlier in the day Harvey Hosein made 30, but Derbyshire’s batsmen struggled to settle and were only able to add 104 runs to their overnight score.
With a scheduled 104 overs in the day, Alex Hughes was soon out for a well-made 75 and Matt Critchley was out to Nathan Buck in the next over as Ben Sanderson claimed his second and Northamptonshire regained the upper-hand.
Anuj Dal (8) and Viljoen (12) made starts but were unable to go on as Hosein showed resistance in his 30 from 76 balls.
Once he fell, Tony Palladino added a vital 32 in a last-wicket stand with Rampaul (5 not out), as the 34-year-old looked to retain the strike and hit boundaries as Derbyshire were all out for 222.
Beginning their second innings with a lead of 33 runs, the Northamptonshire top order were watchful as they reached 49-1 at tea off 24 overs.
It was Rampaul who got the wicket as Ben Curran (11) drove aerially and the fast bowler threw himself to the right during his follow-through to take a good low catch.
However, Derbyshire remained frustrated as Luke Procter (21) and Vasconcelos built steadily with Palladino beating the bat the closest Billy Godleman’s men came to a quick second wicket.
Procter’s stubborn innings was eventually brought to an end by Viljoen and he was caught down the leg side as the lead crept above 100 with more than 20 overs left in the day.
The hosts continued to increase their advantage and Richard Levi accelerated the rate, but three wickets in as many overs saw Derbyshire claw their way back into the match in the evening session.
Levi fell for a quickfire 46 off 31 balls, before Vasconcelos (62) was caught off Critchley and Adam Rossington was bowled by Rampaul to leave the hosts on 155-5.
Charlie Thurston made 25, but a reinvigorated Viljoen took three late wickets to remove the young batsman, as well as Josh Cobb (3) and Brett Hutton (0) as Northamptonshire closed on 198-8 leaving the game in the balance heading into the final day.
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.