After all the fun and frolics on the first day, few of us will have expected the game to be going into a fourth. More to the point, it is doing so with the game on a knife edge and so has been a wonderful advert for championship cricket.
We've made a decent fist of the run chase so far, aided and abetted by some poor wicket-keeping by Craig Kieswetter. Can we get another 117 runs to get across the line, win the game and move out of the bottom two?
There's enough talent in the batting to do so. Alex Hughes is next in, then there's Johnson, Poynton, Wainwright and Groenewald, all of who can be relied on to make a decent fist of batting. Yet it is hard to escape the fact that this situation is made for Chanderpaul. I don't think anyone would consider this a vintage summer for the West Indian, but if he could get us to a win tomorrow it will make a big difference to the perceptions of supporters.
As I said last week when Hasim Amla took Surrey to a narrow victory over us, such situations are when you hope - quite possibly pray, tonight - that your overseas star will do his stuff. It was such a situation last year that brought the best from Usman Khawaja against Hampshire, albeit on an easier batting track than this one. Having said that, batting is far from an impossibility and until the late dismissals of Slater and Palladino, Derbyshire appeared to be cruising to some extent.
Top marks to Ben Slater, who has played two fine hands in this match and looks increasingly like a player with much to offer. He will be disappointed not to go on from his 59 today, after 45 in the first innings, but a good spinner will always present issues and Chawla is a pretty good bowler. He's not a mystery or 'demon' spinner though, and his figures suggest enough poor balls to enable the score to be kept moving along.
I genuinely cannot predict this one but we have the ability to win it. Do we have the temperament? We will see tomorrow. Repeating what I said last night, if we genuinely are a first division side, we will get there; if we still need some work done at the drawing board, we will subside to a defeat that will be hard to bear after the heroics of the first day. There's no new ball in sight, so that should not affect the outcome to any great extent, unless we go out merely to occupy the crease, which I don't think the best policy, especially with some rain forecast tomorrow.
That will keep the bowlers fresh, but might make the ball harder to grip for the spinners. Conversely, our batsmen will probably have to start their innings several times, It's a tough one to call, but while some suggest we should have gone for it tonight, I don't buy into it. We could hardly be expected to score at five an over on a track helping bowlers and for me, doing so would have been a recipe for disaster.
We may win or lose tomorrow. The weather may yet see the game end in a draw. We have, however, regained respect and I expect to see a much stronger showing in 2014.
But in which division?