Derbyshire spinner David Wainwright had a day to remember as Leicestershire ended day three of the LV=CC game with a 175-run lead with one second innings wicket remaining.
The 29-year-old continued his good work with the bat as his career-best 109 off 200 balls helped Derbyshire progress to 325 in their first innings.
Wainwright and Tom Taylor (40, 103b) extended their ninth wicket stand to 87 as Derbyshire claimed a first innings lead of 25 despite being 113-6 at one stage yesterday.
The slow left armer then took 5-54 off 26 overs and off-spinner Scott Elstone chipped in with 2-8 (7 overs) as Leicestershire scored 200-9 in their second innings.
Wainwright took three wickets in four overs either side of tea to put County on the back foot before Niall O’Brien (71, 144b) again led a repair operation.
The 'keeper shared 58 in another fruitful seventh wicket alliance with Ben Raine, who battled for 98 balls in compiling 19.
Although Leicestershire would have liked more wickets intact going into what could be an intriguing final day, the lead is a useful one given there was turn for Wainwright, Elstone and Marcus North (6-1-7-0) today.
The visitors resumed 32 behind on 279-8 and Wainwright struck a four in Raine’s (26-9-50-3 opening over to record the 50 partnership. Tom Taylor went on to drive a four off Anthony Ireland (26-5-67-2) and after 109 overs, the score was 291-8.
Derbyshire therefore needed nine runs and Leicestershire one wicket in the next over to record a third bonus point - and the visitors secured it. Wainwright and Tom Taylor claimed three apiece and that was followed by a driven four by Wainwright off the penultimate ball.
James Sykes entered the attack to bowl the 114th over and Wainwright swept for four – the 12th of his innings – to record a first century in Derbyshire colours from 118 balls. Derbyshire were in the lead by the end of the over.
Wainwright punched through mid-on to pick up another four but Rob Taylor (20-5-55-1) came on and took a wicket first ball. Wainwright cut uppishly and Angus Robson took a brilliant one-handed catch in the gully.
Tom Taylor continued to impress with a four through the covers, and Mark Footitt (10, 15b) struck over mid-wicket to record a boundary. The innings finally came to an end as Tom Taylor swung Sykes (20-1-54-1) to Josh Cobb at mid-wicket.
Robson cut away for the first boundary of Leicestershire’s second innings and Smith hit two successive off-side fours at the start of the 6th over. A Robson brace levelled the scores at 12.38pm, and the young opener cut away later in the 7th over.
It had been a bright opening but Wainwright continued to torment County. The spinner got one to shoot through with his second ball to bowl Smith (16, 21b) before also getting one past Ned Eckersley’s (0, 8b) defences in the next over.
He had figures of 2-0 from three overs at lunch as Leicestershire went in with a slender lead of nine on 34-2. That became 34-3 when Wainwright produced some beautiful flight in his first over of the afternoon session. Robson dragged his foot out of the crease in pushing forward and Gareth Cross had the bails off in a flash.
An inside edge off Tom Taylor (9-3-32-0) brought Cobb four and 14 came off the youngster’s next over, including two consecutive off-side fours from Sarwan and a flowing on-drive from Cobb that raced across the lush outfield.
Cobb smashed Wainwright for a straight six but the slow left armer was not put off. He was prepared to give the next ball some air and Cobb (16, 27b) drove to Scott Elstone at short extra cover.
Sarwan cut Wainwright for four off the back foot while O’Brien drove a flighted delivery to the cover boundary. Footitt (15-0-47-2) was now having another burst from the Bennett End and he claimed the fifth wicket of the innings as Sarwan (18, 44b) edged to Wayne Madsen at second slip.
A single for Rob Taylor meant the lead was worth 50 before Footitt pinned Rob Taylor with an aggressive bouncer. O’Brien and Rob Taylor both cut Wainwright and Footitt away before the latter glanced the returning Palladino to the fence. The former Essex man was unlucky not to pick up a wicket as Rob Taylor edged to Madsen, but the captain dropped the chance at first slip.
O’Brien twice cut Wainwright for four and a nick off Palladino also ran away. Rob Taylor (19, 26b) cut the spinner to the fence in the 38th over but nicked the next delivery to Madsen to become Wainwright’s fifth victim.
For the third time in the match, a seventh wicket partnership held up the progress of the bowling side. Raine twice drove for four as the advantage reached 107 by tea with the score on 132-6. O’Brien drove for four and Raine glanced away to the boundary as the score reached 150, and O’Brien then recorded his second half-century of the match from 100 balls (6x4).
A cut for two from O’Brien took the stand beyond 50 but there was a scare when Raine called the ‘keeper through for a quick single. A shy at the stumps narrowly missed, and North also nearly made a breakthrough as Raine edged just short of Madsen.
Madsen kept switching the slow men and the plan worked as Elstone, who had earlier bowled at the Bennett End, replaced North at the Pavilion End. The off-spinner forced Raine to deflect onto his pad and Paul Borrington took a superb one-handed diving catch to end the stubborn alliance. A total of 269 runs have now been added for the seventh wicket in this match.
Sykes pulled a single to take the lead to 150 but Derbyshire were left to rue a missed opportunity as O’Brien uppercut for the second time in the game and was dropped by Footitt at third man off the unfortunate Palladino (16-1-45-0).
Sykes drove through mid-on for four when Wainwright came on for his first bowl of the day at the Bennett End. Elstone then ensured Derbyshire did not pay the full price for their drop as O’Brien tried to cut an arm ball and saw the ball cannon into his stumps.
The ninth wicket fell as Footitt trapped Sykes (7, 24b) leg before with a full delivery before Alex Wyatt (11*, 20b) and Ireland (3*, 23b) added 14 important runs before stumps. It is all set up for a good final day, so come down to Grace Road for the start time of 11am if you can.