Middlesex 263 and 71 for 4 v Derbyshire182
Middlesex's bowlers hit back after their batsmen collapsed in spectacular fashion on a day when 21 wickets fell at Derby and only one player scored fifty.
The visitors lost their last seven wickets for 22 to be bowled out for 263 but Derbyshire were then skittled for 182 with Pedro Collins and Shaun Udal each taking four wickets.
That gave Middlesex a first innings lead of 81 but they then lost Scott Newman for the second time in the day and Mark Footitt struck twice in successive overs to reduce them to 71 for 4 at the close, a lead of 152.
There was certainly nothing in the pitch or the overhead conditions to blame for the dramatic clatter of wickets which began when Newman pulled Robin Peterson to deep midwicket after adding only seven to his first day 119. The rest of the Middlesex innings was a procession with five batsmen failing to register double figures as the Derbyshire bowlers preyed on poor shot selection.
Three wickets fell with the total on 245 and Collins' wild carve to third man to bring the innings to a close summed up what had been a lamentable display by the visitors. Derbyshire fared no better despite Chris Rogers making 75, his highest Championship score since early June, and they were two wickets down by lunch with Collins bowling Chesney Hughes with the penultimate ball of the session.
The home side lost their last six wickets for 60 runs with at least four batsmen contributing to their downfall as the game advanced rapidly despite the loss of four sessions to rain. Derbyshire's hopes of getting close to Middlesex's total disappeared when Rogers was bowled by Udal for 75 and only some lusty blows from Steffan Jones, who hit the veteran spinner for two sixes in an over, gave them a measure of respectability.
Udal had the last word when Jones was stumped giving him the charge but Middlesex were soon back in familiar territory as Tim Groenewald and Graham Wagg trapped both openers lbw in the first eight overs of their second innings.
Owais Shah and Dawid Malan brought up the fifty before Footitt tempted them into rash strokes to leave both teams with a chance of winning a game that had looked destined for a draw after the loss of so much time to bad weather.