Billy Godleman led by example as Derbyshire hit back strongly on the third day of the Division Two County Championship match against Leicestershire at Derby.
The Derbyshire captain made 141 from 275 balls and with former Leicestershire all-rounder Shiv Thakor scoring 132 and Gary Wilson 97, the home side closed on 532 for 8, 87 behind.
Leicestershire’s 20-year-old fast bowler Zak Chappell took wickets and Clint McKay returned the impressive figures of 2 for 78 from 32 overs but the rest of the attack struggled on a lifeless pitch.
Derbyshire had a lot of batting to do at the start of the day and Godleman and Thakor took their partnership well into the afternoon to give their side a fighting chance of saving the game.
McKay apart, Leicestershire’s bowling lacked the consistency required on a flat pitch to exert pressure and a dropped catch only added to a frustrating morning for the visitors.
Godleman had reached his ninth first-class hundred for Derbyshire by driving Zak Chappell for his 17th four but Thakor should have gone on 86 when he clipped Rob Sayer to midwicket where Chappell spilled an easy chance.
Thakor took advantage against his former county to reach his first century of the season in the County Championship from 160 balls with 16 fours and the pair established a new Derbyshire second wicket record against Leicestershire of 236 before they were parted.
It was McKay who broke through with a ball that swung away enough to take the outside edge after Thakor had made his highest score for Derbyshire and the Australian struck again in his next over when Wayne Madsen lobbed a catch to short over.
Alex Hughes edged Dieter Klein to second slip but Godleman’s occupation lasted just short of seven hours before Chappell speared a yorker through his defence.
Derbyshire were still in danger at that stage of falling short of the 470 follow-on target but Wilson, who secured maximum batting points with a six off Sayer, and Daryn Smit added 81 in 18 overs.
Smit made his highest championship score for Derbyshire but was caught at second slip trying to run Klein to third man and Jeevan Mendis became Colin Ackermann’s first Leicestershire wicket when he got a leading edge to point.
Wilson looked certain to become the sixth player in the game to make a hundred but he fell for the second time in the 90’s this season trying to pull Chappell but he had helped Derbyshire record their highest score against Leicestershire.