Derbyshire 244 for 6 trail Sussex 429 by 185 runs
Another impressive innings from Chesney Hughes raised Derbyshire's hopes of avoiding the follow-on before England all-rounder Luke Wright landed two late blows at Derby.
The 19-year-old Anguillan passed 50 for the fourth time in only his fourth County Championship Division Two match but was out for 62 to the first ball back after a break for bad light and rain.
Wright then bowled 20-year-old Dan Redfern for 44 and at the close, Derbyshire were 244 for 6, trailing by 185, in reply to Sussex's 429. Skipper Chris Rogers had continued his prolific form with 75 before he was one of two victims for England spinner Monty Panesar who had figures of 2 for 42 from 17 overs.
Robin Martin-Jenkins followed his century by removing Garry Park but the Sussex bowling was inconsistent on a day when conditions suggested it would be awkward for batting. Cloud cover and moisture in the atmosphere should have favoured the seamers but James Anyon struggled with his line and there were too many loose balls for the batsmen to put away.
Sussex had put themselves in a strong position with the last four wickets adding 303 to leave Derbyshire needing 280 to avoid the prospect of being asked to follow-on.
Yasir Arafat and Anyon put on 64 for the ninth wicket before Anyon swept the left arm spin of Robin Peterson into the hands of deep midwicket and a direct hit from point ran out Panesar.
Arafat was unbeaten on 34 and he gave his side the perfect start by striking with the fifth ball of the Derbyshire innings when he trapped Wayne Madsen lbw playing half forward. But the prize wicket of Rogers fell from the visitors' grasp when the Australian was dropped on 15 in Anyon's second over by wicketkeeper Ben Brown.
Rogers had already started to head for the pavilion after he saw Brown take the edge diving to his left but the ball appeared to slip from his glove when he hit the ground. The Derbyshire captain made the most of his escape and greeted Panesar by driving his first two balls to the ropes as he and Park rebuilt the innings.
They had added 96 when Park reached at a delivery from Martin-Jenkins which he should have left alone and was well caught low down at a wide second slip by Ed Joyce.
Greg Smith made only two before he sent a return catch to Panesar trying to work the ball through midwicket and when Rogers jabbed into the hands of short leg, Derbyshire were 127 for 4. But Hughes again played with composure and with Redfern was steering Derbyshire towards their target before Wright dismissed them both in the space of three overs.
Hughes, who had pulled Wright for six, was lbw playing slightly across the line to end a stand of 98 and Redfern was bowled playing back to leave Derbyshire still 36 short of saving the follow-on.
Sussex vs Derbyshire
England Domestic Season
County Championship Division Two