Leicestershire 157 (Gleeson 3-33, Sanderson 3-36, Azharullah 3-52) and 44-0 require a further 350 runs to beat Northamptonshire 261 (Duckett 112, Holden 92, Klein 6-80) and 289 for 7 dec (Wakely 112, Keogh 105*, Ackermann 3-45)
Centuries from Alex Wakely and Rob Keogh gave Northamptonshire an excellent chance to pick up a fifth victory in the Specsavers County Championship. They set Leicestershire 394 to win at Wantage Road but the visitors survived for 16 overs under the lights until the close of day three at 9.57pm, reaching 44 for 0.
Both Wakely and Keogh made their first Championship centuries of the season as Northants quickly built up a big lead. They declared in perfect time with the skies dark enough to encourage the pink ball to swing but unlike on the first evening where the hosts took four wickets, they failed to find a breakthrough as Paul Horton and on-loan Surrey batsman Arun Harinath got through a very tricky period, several edges falling short of the slips cordon and strong lbw appeals from Richard Gleeson against Harinath and Azharullah against Horton turned down.
Until the wicketless final hour, it was a perfect day for Northants. After a three hour delay due to a wet outfield, Wakely and Keogh resumed with their side 60 for 3 and the game still in the balance. But Leicestershire couldn't swing the ball and didn't bowl accurately enough to even contain Northants - 146 runs came in 28 overs before tea.
Wakely suggested Northants would look to be positive before the start of play and was true to his word. He made half-centuries in the second innings of Northants' previous two matches and here went past fifty again in 55 balls with five fours - only after being put down by Harinath at point on 44.
He looked in excellent touch - rocking back to pull Dieter Klein over midwicket and lifting Rob Sayer's off spin over long-on for six. A fierce cut against Matt Pillans raced to the cover point boundary to raise a century in 108 balls. Wakely was eventually caught at short third man for 112 trying to reserve sweep Sayer.
With Keogh, Wakely shared 171 for the fourth wicket - a partnership that took the game away from Leicestershire, who bizarrely only used their strike bowler Klein for seven overs in the second innings.
Keogh's day began with a clip to fine leg for four and he played the shot of the match - a gorgeous extra-cover drive off Clint McKay - on his way to just a second Championship fifty of the season in 77 balls with seven fours.
He then skipped down the pitch to lift Sayer over mid-off before sweeping the same bowler for another boundary in front of square. He took tea 70 not out and after the break was forced to work the bowling around against a defensive field, eventually going through to his seventh first-class century in 136 balls - a very pleasant innings and much-needed after a poor first half of the Championship season.