Derbyshire lead Worcestershire by 128 runs with eight second-innings wickets in hand
Just as Graeme Welch had on day one of this gripping County Championship match, Worcestershire's Vikram Solanki played a captain's knock to underpin his side's shaky first-innings effort.
The elegant right-hander's century - his first in four-day cricket for nearly two years - was the ideal response to his opposite number's 94 the previous afternoon and was just what his team needed as the hosts' top order crumbled like stale fruit cake to 64 for four.
At that point, with Daryl Mitchell, Stephen Moore, Ben Smith and Graeme Hick back in the hutch for the less than princely aggregate of 13 runs, Worcestershire were facing a potential defeat inside three days until Solanki came to their rescue.
Despite his best efforts that loss may still come, however, with his side dismissed 60 short of their guests' total and with Derbyshire poised ominously on 68 for two at stumps on the second day.
Remarkably Solanki's total contained 22 boundaries - he ran just 14 of his 110 - and few, if any chances. The 30-year-old played and missed on the odd occasion but operated intelligently throughout.
He signalled his positive intention from the off. After seeing Moore caught at slip for a duck with the second ball of the day, Solanki strode in and drove the third ramrod straight past bowler Steffan Jones.
He raced to 46 with another ten fours but all the time wickets dropped like confetti at the other end.
Mitchell wafted at one from Ian Hunter, Smith completely misread another from the same bowler and was trapped leg before and then Hick leant half-heartedly into a Mo Sheikh delivery and was caught behind.
Only when Steve Davies came to join him did the Worcestershire ship stop keeling nastily.
The teenager seemed to share his captain's conviction and by lunch the pair had moved the score on to 105.
After the interval they continued to hit the poor balls and block the good ones and Solanki brought up the hundred partnership by crunching Welch through extra cover. Worcestershire were flying.
But then Davies became marooned in the forties. He managed to negotiate his way to within one of a half century until he leaned back to one from Welch and steered it to Chris Taylor at point.
Solanki continued on his way with Roger Sillence, brought up his ton with a slash over gully and hit his way to 110 before he cut Hunter uppishly square on the off side to Ant Botha.
Sillence, Ray Price and Kabir Ali racked up 61 between them but when Nadim Malik was stumped without scoring, Worcester-shire were left some way short of safety and wondering what day three holds for them.
They will not want to chase much above 230-240 with the wicket beginning to spit the odd delivery and Price in particular extracting some decent bounce.
What is crucial is that seamer Zaheer Khan continues in the same way ended the Derbyshire first knock Zaheer had Chris Taylor caught by Hick at slip for nine after Kabir had trapped Stephen Stubbings. But Zaheer will need rather more support today than he received on the first day.