Derbyshire captain Billy Godleman and former skipper Wayne Madsen shared a record-breaking stand as the home side dominated the second day of the Division Two match against Worcestershire at Derby.
The pair both scored centuries in a partnership of 253 in 75 overs, Derbyshire’s highest for the third wicket against Worcestershire, after Joe Leach had taken two wickets in four balls.
Leach removed Hamish Rutherford and Chesney Hughes with the score on 13 but Godleman’s career-best unbeaten 157 and Madsen’s 109 transformed the game as Derbyshire closed on 319 for 3.
Worcestershire’s decision to bowl first had looked a good one when Leach struck twice in the fourth over of the morning.
Derbyshire promoted Rutherford to open for the first time this season in the Championship but the New Zealander was guilty of a miscalculation when he left a ball and was bowled for five.
Rutherford showed his annoyance as he walked back to the pavilion and he was quickly followed by Hughes who was lbw three balls later without scoring.
There was certainly enough in the pitch to encourage the seamers and Madsen looked fortunate to survive a confident appeal for leg before first ball against Leach as the batsmen had to fight hard to survive.
Godleman was at his most obdurate, batting though the morning for 23 from 31 overs, but he opened up after lunch as he and Madsen dominated in the sunshine.
A light aircraft circled over the ground trailing a banner relating to Thursday’s EU vote but in the middle it was all about staying in with Godleman passing his previous highest score of 55 against Worcestershire on route to his fifth century for Derbyshire.
He reached it in style by launching Brett D’Oliveira’s leg-spin over the long-on boundary shortly before the end of the afternoon session in which he and Madsen added 148 in 33 overs.
Worcestershire were frustrated to have a couple of strong shouts for lbw rejected but the pitch had eased considerably and Madsen completed the 22nd first-class century of his career and his 21st for Derbyshire from 214 balls with a sharp single off Ed Barnard.
Godleman equalled his previous best first-class score of 130 before Madsen tried to force Jack Shantry just before the second new ball and was caught behind.
Neil Broom edged fellow Kiwi Matt Henry just past a diving second slip which summed up how the day had turned against Worcestershire and Godleman celebrated his 150 by driving D’Oliveira for a second six three overs before the close.
Derbyshire captain Billy Godleman said: “If you had said to me this morning when we lost those couple of early wickets that I would be not out at the end of the day I would have taken it with both hands.
“They bowled well up front, it was difficult for the first hour and then the second hour was hard to score even though the ball stopped swinging it still wasn’t easy to pierce the infield and I think that showed in our lunch score.
“I love batting with Wayne (Madsen), he’s a fantastic player, a very good friend of mine and has been incredibly helpful and supportive with my own personal career so every time I get to observe his batting I’m always learning.
“I think I’d made 130 a couple of times before so to pass that was nice but most importantly we are in a strong position at the end of day two and are in a good space to push to try and win the game.”
Worcestershire assistant coach Matt Mason said: “It did look pretty bright at 2 for 13 and there was a very close decision we thought with Madsen, we felt we were very unlucky with that one and it would have been a very different looking morning with all the momentum with us.
“But to be fair to them, they played fantastic cricket and put on a big partnership and probably took the honours at the end.
“It did look a good wicket and if it had been the start of four days, we would probably have batted on it but we felt to be really positive and try and win the game the best chance was to try and bowl them out cheaply and hopefully only have to bat the once.
“It didn’t quite work, it started like a good idea but didn’t finish that way but sometimes these things happen and the opposition are entitled to play well. We probably took our foot off the gas a bit in that first hour after lunch but apart from that I thought the boys fought hard all day.”