Surrey 560 (Durston 6-113)
After a closely-fought first two days, Surrey stormed away with the third and left Derbyshire with a lot to do on the fourth to avoid a defeat that would seal their opponents a promotion spot and put them in poll position for the title.
To be fair, after a spirited batting effort they deserve it. In batting as long as they did, their intention will have been to ensure against batting again, though they must hope for a full day today and a limp second innings effort from us.
Work commitments stopped me following too much of today's play, but as Creweblade points out below yesterday's post, we would have been in big trouble without Wes Durston's marathon effort that produced career-best figures. Both Ben Cotton and Tony Palladino bowled with commendable accuracy, but Mark Footitt had a rare ineffective day and both Matt Critchley and Tom Milnes proved expensive.
Such is the game. It will be a battle tomorrow and the batsmen must be ready for a day of fielders all around the bat. A draw would be a good achievement and in its own way a marker of the fighting spirit in the side. There is nothing to play for but pride, but I hope that the spirit is strong.
I bet there's a few red rose fans rooting for us tomorrow...
In closing tonight, I omitted to mention earlier in the week that it was nice to see Mohammad Azharuddin back at Derby for the filming of the biopic of his life.
After considered thought, I can recall no Derbyshire batsman who made batting look so effortless, so easy, so joyful. Especially in his first season, Azha watching was a joy and he was a quite stunning player to watch.
There were times that he played the ball so late you thought it was through, but a late turn of the wrists speared the ball to the mid-wicket boundary. He moved little at the crease until he needed to, but when he did it was with purpose and footwork that a Strictly Come Dancing professional would have been proud of.
It was a privilege to watch him.