County Championship: Callum Ferguson gives Worcestershire chance of beating Derbyshire
|Specsavers County Championship Division Two, Chester Road, Kidderminster (day three):|
|Derbyshire 108 & 377: Lace 132, Madsen 60, Palladino 58; Barnard 4-48|
|Worcestershire 113 & 156-5: Ferguson 71*, Cox 44*|
|Worcestershire (3 pts) need another 217 runs to beat Derbyshire (3 pts) with five wickets remaining|
Callum Ferguson and Ben Cox kept alive Worcestershire's chance of forcing an unlikely victory with an unbroken 108-run stand against Derbyshire.
The visitors, 272-6 overnight, were finally bowled out for 377, after a 99-run ninth-wicket stand between Tom Lace (132 not out) and Tony Palladino (58).
Set 373 to win, the Pears then collapsed to 48-5 in the 26th over.
But sixth-wicket pair Ferguson (71) and Cox (44) dug in to close on 156-5, still needing 217 on the last day.
Cox's third highest score of the summer came on the day he took his 300th dismissal for the county.
After taking two Derbyshire wickets without addition to the overnight score, Worcestershire had hoped to have a lot less to chase.
But, from 277-8, Derbyshire ninth-wicket pair Lace, who hit 17 boundaries in his superb 331-ball unbeaten century, and Palladino (58) put on 99 in 27 overs.
Worcestershire's England Lions all-rounder Ed Barnard weighed in with 4-48, his best figures of the season.
Derbyshire then looked set for a three-day win when they took five home second-innings wickets between lunch and tea.
After Palladino began the procession of wickets by having opener Daryl Mitchell caught behind cheaply, Ravi Rampaul and Fynn Hudson-Prentice picked up two wickets apiece.
Hudson-Prentice bowled his first eight overs for eight successive maidens to have the remarkable figures of 8-8-0-2 at one point. But the Derbyshire bowlers were becalmed in the final session to offer Worcestershire growing hopes of a third Championship win of 2019.
Pears wicket-keeper Ben Cox told BBC Hereford & Worcester:
"I know we've got the new ball earlyish (after 13 overs) but, if we can get through that with wickets in hand, then there is no reason why we can't try and build another partnership.
"I know we found ourselves in a bit of trouble at 48-5 but we've given ourselves a chance going into the last day. I know there is still 220 to get on the board but potentially, here of all places, we can chase this down.
"Credit to their bowlers. From speaking to the umpires and trying to get feedback while out there, they got the ball to move off the straight in the air and got the ball to nip. They've bowled well to get five wickets."
Derbyshire centurion Tom Lace told BBC Radio Derby:
"The pitch has progressively got better for the last couple of days. I was just in the lucky position to be in the middle when that happened. To knuckle down like that was pleasing.
"Callum Ferguson and Ben Cox showed at the end that if you invest time to get the pace of the wicket and work out what your options and apply yourself, you can get rewards for it.
"And that knock his stand of Tony Palladino's could be crucial in the outcome of this game. He is the only one that has made it look easy scoring wise. Fingers crossed, we can take a few with the new ball and cement his contribution."