Derbyshire 281 for 7 (Madsen 95, Slater 70) trail Leicestershire 329 by 48 runs
Derbyshire captain Wayne Madsen completed 8000 first-class runs but missed out on a century in his 100th Championship match on the second day of the Division Two game against Leicestershire at Derby. Madsen made 95 from 154 balls but played on to Ollie Freckingham who finished with 3 for 64 as Derbyshire closed 281 for 7, 48 behind on first innings.
Zak Chapple followed his 96 on day one by claiming a maiden first-class victim when he dismissed Ben Slater for 70 but Derbyshire were well placed until they lost 2 for 4 in 22 balls before bad light ended play.
Leicestershire's hopes had briefly soared at the start when Rob Taylor trapped Billy Godleman lbw with the last ball of the fourth over but the rest of the day was hard work for a team that was without two main strike bowlers in Charlie Shreck and Clint McKay who between them took 115 Championship wickets this season.
Chesney Hughes was dropped by Niall O'Brien on 6 before he was yorked by Freckingham's first ball for 14 but from then on, Derbyshire accumulated steadily on a pitch that had become easier to bat on. Slater pulled Ben Raine for a big six behind square on his way to his first Championship 50 since May and with Madsen added 89 in 29 overs for the third wicket before he drove Zak Chappell loosely to cover.
The bowling lacked consistency in the afternoon session and Madsen drove Mark Cosgrove for three fours in an over to reach 50 from 98 balls and with Wes Durston quick to take advantage of any width, it was looking good for Derbyshire until Raine struck.
Durston was beaten as he went forward and Freckingham again repeated his earlier success when he was recalled at the Racecourse End and ended Madsen's hopes of a century. The Derbyshire captain had reached a personal milestone when he got to 89 and looked set to celebrate with three figures until he dragged Freckingham into his stumps.
Tom Knight marked his first Championship appearance for four years by taking three fours from a Freckingham over before 80 minutes and 11 overs were lost to bad light. Even with the floodlights on it was still murky when play resumed at 5.45pm with Tom Poynton lbw to the fifth ball from Raine and Knight was bowled by Freckingham three balls later before the light closed in for the last time.
"Maybe we are just slightly ahead after those last few overs," Freckingham said. "If we can knock the last three wickets over for less than 300 tomorrow morning I think we will be ahead of the game."
Madsen admitted the day had ended disappointingly. "We had a pretty good day up to then so to go back out there for three overs and lose those couple of wickets was frustrating," he said. "It was never going to be easy batting if we did get back out there and that proved to be the case."