Derbyshire 389 (Godleman 122, Madsen 72, Hughes 60*) and 6 for 0 need 399 more runs to beat Sussex 440 (Brown 116, Wiese 93, Finch 82, Ferguson 4-106) and 353 for 6 dec (Salt 148, Wells 78)
Phil Salt apparently likes to tell the story of how when he was growing up in Barbados he accidentally nicked Garry Sobers' takeaway. Now he seems intent on nicking some of his shots.
Twice in a week Salt has produced the sort of innings that gets you noticed. The way England's middle order are giving it away in the Tests, gung-ho batsmen may be in danger of going out of fashion, but down on the Sussex coast it has been a breathtaking week all the same. Keep an eye on him.
First Salt hurtled to 66 from 25 balls against Middlesex as Sussex reached the quarter-finals of the Vitality Blast on Friday night. This time his dashing strokeplay blew aside Derbyshire in the Championship as he struck 148 from 138 balls and, given a decent bowling display on the final day, could help carry Sussex back into the top two.
Salt, 21, lithe and adventurous, is one of several young batsmen who Jason Gillespie, Sussex's coach, has entrusted to carry the county forward. It certainly makes life exciting. His maiden Championship hundred at Arundel in June was overshadowed by Tom Haines' hundred a little earlier that same day, a story all the more enticing because Haines had been driven to the ground as an emergency replacement by his mum.
This time Salt had the story largely to himself. Sussex stretched a first-innings lead of 51 to 76 by lunch, but they were able to declare seven overs before the close with a lead of 404 because of a whirlwind afternoon session which brought 191 runs in all, Salt making 108 in the session as he moved from 11 to 119.
Derbyshire, six without loss at the close, have never made more than 396 in the fourth innings in their history - and they lost that one. The most they have ever made to win is 371: it is known by every Derbyshire fan worth his salt (an unfortunate phrase on this of all days) that Shane Warne took seven wickets for the Australian tourists in 1997 and still finished on the losing side.
Derbyshire are down to ten. They are lacking their portly West Indian seamer, Ravi Rampaul, who was driven back north on the third day for further medical checks after complaining of breathing difficulties in the field on the first day.
Rampaul's absence left their bowling attack as breakable as old plates on a summer fete stall on a sedate surface which Sussex will hope assists their spinners on the final day. Salt took a particular liking to the New Zealand quick, Lockie Ferguson, who bore the brunt of his early assault whether he bowled uphill or down, tried round-the-wicket short stuff or resorted to T20-style survival bowling in a desperate attempt to quell the assault.
Sussex had 63 in nine overs by the time of the first lost ball, a disdainful front-foot pull off Ferguson which sailed into the flats at midwicket. An outrageous tennis swat followed later. There were five sixes in all, all of which flew in the same midwicket direction, a top-edge to third man apart, but his innings also featured controlled drives and some verveful singles. There will have been few more delightful knocks played in the Championship all season.
Oddly, Luke Wells, although far less eye-catching, reached 50 a ball before him: he had far more of the strike and tended to steal his boundaries rather than embark on a smash-and-grab. Wells fell for 78 - the first-wicket stand worth 191 in 31.5 overs - when he swept the legspin of Matt Critchley to deep square leg. Critchley is not a big turner of the ball and Sussex will hope for more purchase for Wells himself and the left-arm spin of Danny Briggs.
Derbyshire slowed the onslaught slightly after tea, largely through pace off the ball from Tony Palladino and Sean Ervine and it was apt that Palladino finally silenced Salt as he sought his third boundary in an over and was bowled by a ball that left him.
Ben Slater, who was prematurely announced on Nottinghamshire's website as having moved to the county, will complete his last innings for Derbyshire on the final day today before the signing is officially confirmed. Slater spent some time off the field when, as far as could be ascertained, he did not nip down to Southampton in case Notts asked him to have a bat. It is tempting to hope that Billy Godleman gets out early as he likes the press box windows to be closed. Otherwise it could be a very long day.