Duckett ton holds up Derbyshire victory push
Northamptonshire 116 (Footitt 5-41) and 245 for 6 (Duckett 132*, Palladino 3-54) were level with Derbyshire 361
Ben Duckett's third Championship century provided a spirited response for Northamptonshire on the second afternoon against Derbyshire but the visitors closed on course for victory with Northants 245 for 6 in their second innings and the scores level.
Mark Footitt's 5 for 41 helped fire out Northants for just 116 in their first innings, their lowest total of the season, but Duckett's hundred as Northants followed-on at least ensured Derbyshire were made to work for the strong position on a day where 15 wickets fell.
Duckett's promotion to open the innings has proved a success. He made 222 runs, including a first century of the season, at Lancashire in his second match in the role, added another half-century against Gloucestershire at Cheltenham and here avoided a king pair in some style to raise three figures.
Opening the second innings with Northants 245 behind, Duckett was dropped on 26 by Hamish Rutherford at cover but thereafter played carefully to go through to fifty in 75 balls. Typically strong square of the wicket, Duckett cut and pulled to good effect and enjoyed the best batting conditions of the day after tea with the Wantage Road ground bathed in sunshine.
Three boundaries in six balls from Ben Cotton took him into the 90s before he was made to wait a while on 99 as Adam Rossington received treatment for what appeared to be a hamstring tweak. But Duckett was not flustered and struck Shiv Thakor through square leg to bring up a century in 134 balls with 17 boundaries.
He had Rossington for company for much of the evening session in a stand of 98 for the fifth wicket. Rossington got off the mark with a six over midwicket off Wes Durston and struck a further eight boundaries - three of them cuts off Durston - before playing a scoring stroke that didn't go to the fence. He fell lbw as Tony Palladino returned for a new spell with seven overs left in the day; Palladino then cleaned bowled nightwatchman Olly Stone with a perfect yorker.
Northants had been blown away in the morning session, as Footitt took his third five-wicket haul of the season. Alex Wakely was set up with two deliveries going across him, then shouldered arms to an inswinger and lost his off stump for 8. Footitt also had Stone caught and bowled before coming back after lunch to have Rory Kleinveldt caught at point first ball and then clean bowled Maurice Chambers.
Northamptonshire's first innings lasted just 38.1 overs so Derbyshire had no hesitation in enforcing the follow-on and it took just eight balls for Footitt to strike again as a lifting delivery had Stephen Peters caught at short midwicket. Wakely was then forced to battle hard and was beaten regularly but survived 36 deliveries - albeit for only five runs - before inexplicably pulling Cotton to mid-on.
Rob Keogh and Richard Levi made contrasting contributions - Keogh 11 out of a stand of 46 with Duckett, Levi 22 out of 33 - before Rossington helped Northants towards parity in tandem with Duckett.