Derby (third day): Derbyshire 270 and 323-5 v Warwickshire 310.

Warwickshire will rightly rue missed opportunities in the course of this game by the end of play today unless they can muster the one thing that has evaded them for the past few days: three successive sessions of solid cricket.

That may well be the least they need after Derbyshire had by far the better of day three at the County Ground. Having started it 37 runs behind Warwickshire's first-innings total, they finished on 323 for five, 283 ahead.

That is a good return for the home side, given that the wicket looked far from benign at the start of play with Neil Carter proving particularly potent.

Before forcing opening batsman Chris Rogers to retire hurt after crashing a ball just short of a length into his grille, he had already rattled the Australian's helmet and temperament with a fierce opening tirade.

That was as exciting as it got in a first session which saw Derbyshire crawl along at little more than two an over; at its most mediocre period of malaise, 40 runs were scored from the 22 overs that straddled lunch. Painful stuff, indeed.

Rogers had the last laugh, coming back in at No 6 to hit a quickfire 64 from 74 balls which beautifully complemented the more measured approach of former Warwickshire batsmen Freddy Klokker (191 balls, five fours) at the other end. He is still there after hitting his maiden championship half-century and ending the day unbeaten on 76.

Alongside former Cannock batsman Rogers, he helped put on 93 in 17.2 overs, which was one of two batting partnerships in the day which did much to alter the balance of power in this game.

It was Warwickshire's inability to hit upon a successful bowling partnership which has let their opponents have the biggest say on how this game ends this evening.

After a tentative start, Derbyshire captain Rikki Clarke (161 balls, 10 fours, one six) broke the shackles and hit a fine 81; his counterpart, Darren Maddy, tried most things in his armoury to break the deadlock, including ten bowling changes between lunch and tea accompanied by some inventive field placings. Neither approach worked.

Clarke put on 134 in 41 overs with Klokker, which says as much about the inefficiency of Warwickshire's bowling as it does the excellence of Derbyshire's batting which, in fairness to the hosts, did get more commanding as the day went on. But it has not been their brilliance that has got them back into a favourable position in this game.

Much of their resurgence has been due to their doggedness, an attitude from which Warwickshire can learn much. The home side has dug in manfully, especially when struggling at 128 for seven on day one, or when Warwickshire were cruising on 238 for three chasing 270 on day two.

That doggedness has served them well and will stand them in good stead. Worryingly, that was the trait most evidently missing from Warwickshire's irritable demeanour, the moment the runs started mounting against them. On those two occasions, the Bears should have gone on to dominate the game; they will now have to bat well to save it.

Monde Zondeki once again proved totally ineffective with the new ball and, although his day's work was frugal, he failed to make his targets play at nearly enough deliveries. The batsmen would have done well to lay some willow on many them.

It was left to Ant Botha to get the breakthrough, trapping Stephen Stubbings lbw with a yorker before John Sadler's poor game continued shortly afterwards when he became Maddy's first victim of the day as he played on to a full ball.

Dominic Telo, who batted 40 minutes for one, gifted Botha his second wicket of the day by top-edging a needless sweep to Ian Salisbury at backward square leg from the second ball after lunch for one.

From then, the day belonged totally to Derbyshire, Clarke, Klokker and Rogers. The one piece of good news foir the Bears concerned

Tim Ambrose's neck injury sustained during the warm-up on Thursday, which meant 19-year-old Richard Johnson was called up from Second XI duty at Cheam for wicketkeeping purposes.

Warwickshire coach and England selector Ashley Giles played down the speculation surrounding the injury that prevented Ambrose from taking the field on Friday and the potential for his subsequent involvement in the England side.

He said: "He was not well enough to keep [wicket] because his neck is a bit sore but this is a precautionary measure. You can never predict anything when it come to selection but no-one has ruled him out."

Ambrose's replacement, who kept tidily to some wayward bowling, got his maiden first-class victim when he caught Rogers off Carter.