Nottinghamshire 204 for 3 (Lumb 115*) trail Derbyshire 391 (Chanderpaul 87, Madsen 74, Adams 4-69, Gurney 3-94) by 187 runs
After Yorkshire's victory over Middlesex and Durham's defeat of Warwickshire, Nottinghamshire are in danger of losing contact with the leading group and this is not the moment they would want to start feeling pressure to keep up, not least with another crisis looming at the top of their batting order.
Having beaten Derbyshire once already, this is a match they would have earmarked as a win, but with less than half the allotted overs possible in the first two days and a further two hours lost on the third, it is difficult to foresee anything but a draw as the outcome, unless the captains can reach an agreement to contrive a run chase.
This is the last match in which Nottinghamshire have Ed Cowan at their disposal, while Alex Hales, who has opened with the Australian since the beginning of the season, is so out of form he has been sent off to the 2nd XI in a bid to rebuild his confidence. Dismissed for 0 and 8 in the fixture with Derbyshire 2nd XI, that exercise has not started well. Riki Wessels, promoted to open in Hales' place, retired hurt after taking a blow on the right hand, although the diagnosis is bruising rather than a break.
It is just as well, then, that Michael Lumb has hit a vein of good form that promises to continue, and which he has underpinned with his second century in as many matches after making 135 against Yorkshire at Scarborough. The 33-year-old left-hander, who still has ambitions to play Test cricket, resumes on 115, having hit 17 boundaries in an innings notable for his eye for an opportunity and the crisp timing of his execution. He had an escape early in the innings, when an edge off Mark Footitt went between second and third slips, but was otherwise, for the most part, in control.
"He just carried on from where he left off at Scarborough," the Nottinghamshire assistant coach, Wayne Noon, said. "When he came to us last season he had a point to prove to one or two people about what he could do in red-ball cricket and he was our leading run-scorer. He was short of 1,000 runs, but only because he had to go off and play Twenty20.
"This season, after a bit of a dodgy start, getting a pair in the first game, he has worked hard and prepared well and is seeing the benefits.
"He has a presence at the crease, hits the ball straight and clean and once he gets in he is a pleasure to watch. He was up against a couple of quick bowlers today in Footitt and Turner but he has matched them, hitting them in front of square and I hope it continues tomorrow."
His was an innings Nottinghamshire needed to keep in touch in this match, let alone in any broader context. Wessels had made only 9 when he decided, after treatment on the field, that he could not continue. Cowan again played himself in only to get out disappointingly early, this time taking three fours in a row off Tim Groenewald before edging the next ball to second slip.
James Taylor reached 40, he and Lumb having added 121, when he misjudged a ball from Groenewald that bowled him off an inside edge; Samit Patel had not settled by time he went to help a ball from Footitt make its way to the long leg boundary only to lift it into the hands of Shivnarine Chanderpaul.
Derbyshire had earlier added 85 to their overnight position before Nottinghamshire could claim the last four wickets, with every lower order batsman bar Groenewald chipping in with runs that gained a fourth batting point comfortably and almost a fifth. Nottinghamshire are 187 behind and with more rain likely it is difficult to envisage as positive result, although both sides will be willing to look for a way.