The day was dominated by a fifth-wicket stand of 148 runs in 49 overs between the Australian pair of Chris Bassano and Jon Moss. With the ball moving around in the morning, they dug in against some impressive bowling from Liam Plunkett and Neil Killeen, whose figures at lunch were 11-6-8-1.
After jarring his left hand shortly before lunch, when he was on 38, Moss was clearly in pain as he soldiered on before falling eight short of his second Championship century of the season. Bassano, who spent 130 balls over his diligent half-century, went on to a season's-best 87, while the captain, Luke Sutton, finished unbeaten on 42.
When Derbyshire resumed on 36 for 2 they quickly lost nightwatchman Andy Gray lbw to Liam Plunkett for 11. The Australian Brad Williams then took his first Championship wicket when Hassan Adnan edged to Durham's other Australian newcomer - Jimmy Maher - at second slip.
Killeen posed less of a threat after the break and Moss and Bassano looked set for centuries when Durham's acting captain, Paul Collingwood, swung one to take out Bassano's off stump. Moss survived a hard chance to Gordon Muchall at deep midwicket off Williams when the scores were level and Derbyshire were 263 for 5 at tea.
Durham took the new ball straight after the break and Plunkett earned his third wicket when he nipped one back to bowl Moss for 92. In the next over, Graeme Welch shouldered arms to a ball from Williams which trimmed his off bail and Ant Botha did not have time to get off the mark before bad light, followed by a thunderstorm, ended play.