Derbyshire are on course for their first home victory in the County Championship today since the end of the 2014 season after Worcestershire were routed for 164 and forced to follow on in the Division Two match at Derby.
Billy Godleman’s maiden double-century and Neil Broom’s 93 carried Derbyshire to 467-5 declared before Ben Cotton and Tony Palladino both took four wickets on the third day of the four-day fixture.
It looked a different pitch to the one Godleman scored 204 from 328 balls on as Cotton, with 4-28, and Palladino (4-32) ran through Worcestershire who finished Wednesday 24-1 in their second innings, still 279 behind.
Godleman and Broom set the tone for a day of Derbyshire domination by taking their fourth-wicket stand to 155 in 36 overs, with Godleman setting a county record for the highest score against Worcestershire when he passed Thomas Richardson’s unbeaten 200 at Chesterfield in 1933.
Jack Shantry finally broke through to claim his 250th first-class wicket when Godleman top-edged a pull to leg-slip, and then Broom fell for the second time in the 90s on this ground in a month when his attempt to plant Brett D’Oliveira into the new media centre landed in the hands of long-off.
Derbyshire’s declaration at lunch came as no surprise, but the Worcestershire collapse that followed did, even though the light was poor enough for the floodlights to be switched on.
There were no excuses, though, for the visitors’ limp batting as Cotton and Palladino blew away the top order in the opening ten overs of the afternoon session with five of the first six mustering only eight runs among them.
D’Oliveira’s attempt to flick Cotton through mid-wicket was taken at short leg, Joe Clarke edged to fourth slip and skipper Daryl Mitchell had his off stump knocked out when he shouldered arms.
Alexei Kervezee was bowled off an inside edge and former Derbyshire batsman Ross Whiteley was snapped up at first slip when he aimed a big drive at Palladino.
Tom Kohler-Cadmore and Ben Cox put the pitch into perspective by adding 66 in 14 overs, but the return of Palladino removed any chance Worcestershire had of reaching the follow-on target of 318.
Cox was trapped on the crease and after Will Davis had bowled Joe Leach to claim his first Championship victim, Palladino defeated Kohler-Cadmore’s expansive drive.
Matt Henry unleashed some defiant blows, including a pulled six off Davis, before he flashed at Cotton, and when Ed Barnard drove Chesney Hughes to cover, Worcestershire had been bowled out in 53.1 overs.
Mitchell and D’Oliveira walked out for a second time with nine overs to negotiate and Cotton removed Worcestershire’s captain for a second time when he drove loosely to gully four overs before the close.
Cotton said: “The early wickets set us up and we just kept going from there. We were relentless with the ball.
“It was great to see Billy get 200. We knew we had a good platform and it was our job to make early inroads. There was just a fraction of movement off the wicket and that extra bit of bounce, but other than that, it wasn’t doing a great deal.
“When the lights are on, the ball seems to go through a little bit more and I think that’s why we got a little bit more bounce out of the wicket, but we don’t scientifically know why.”
“That wicket before the close sets us up for the final day. We only have to take nine wickets to win the game.”
Worcestershire’s director of cricket Steve Rhodes said: “We possibly had one of those days where we didn’t apply ourselves as well as Godleman, Broom and Madsen did in the Derbyshire innings.
“Consequently, if that happens, you lose your wickets. But I don’t want to be too critical because we’ve played really well this year and scored plenty of runs, and everyone is entitled to a bad day.
“Derbyshire were nice and fresh, and had a new ball in their hand and a big score under their belts, so you tend to run in with a real zest. When you have fielded for that length of time, while you are probably not physically feeling tired, you are mentally not as sharp as you could be and I call that batting tired.
“I think a few of our shots proved we were a bit mentally tired. But take nothing away from the Derbyshire bowlers. They did really well. The final day is all about saving the game, which is very realistic. It’s potentially only a day-three wicket, so that’s our target.”