Derbyshire 286 and 213 for 0 (Guptil 131*, Borrington 66*) lead Northamptonshire 264 by 235 runs
New Zealand opening batsman Martin Guptill fired Derbyshire into a strong position at the end of the third day against Northamptonshire. With so little to choose between the two sides at the end of the first innings, Guptill set Derbyshire off to the perfect start in their second innings with an authoritative 131 not out as he and partner Paul Borrington put on an unbroken 213 for the first wicket.
Northants did not help their own cause by dropping three catches off the pair and, at the close, Derbyshire had an overall lead of 235, having earlier bowled the visitors out for 264. Borrington's share of the opening stand was 66 not out in an admirably defiant effort. He has faced 226 balls so far and has hit six boundaries, content to allow Guptill to be the more free-flowing stroke-player but both players had to be exceptionally cautious at the beginning of their innings.
With plenty of swing for the seamers in the overcast conditions, the first 20 overs from Northants allowed only 20 runs and the Derbyshire pair had to ride their luck at times as the ball regularly beat the outside edge.
But the batsmen began to feel more comfortable shortly after lunch, with Guptill leading the way. He was given a life on 43 when Alex Wakely dropped him at first slip and the same fielder also later spilled another chance in the same position when Borrington was 42. Guptill brought up his century with a steered single to third man off the last ball of the 51st over. It was his sixth in first-class cricket and his second for Derbyshire, coming off 135 balls with 11 fours and a six.
On 108, Guptill was dropped again as substitute fielder Con de Lange put down a steepling chance at deep mid-wicket and, when bad light brought an early close with 15 overs to go, he was edging towards his highest score for the county, which is 143.
Derbyshire earlier earned their first-innings lead of 22 when they claimed the last three Northants wickets for 23 runs in the first 10 overs of the morning. James Middlebrook added only five more to his overnight score of 40 when he attempted to force Mark Footitt away off the back foot and was caught by wicketkeeper Tom Poynton to make it 252 for 8 in the fifth over of the day.
There were seven fours and a six in Middlebrook's valuable innings and with him went Northants' chance of nudging into a lead. Tony Palladino finished them off as Lee Daggett edged to second slip and Jack Brooks to first slip.