Worcestershire batsman Tom Fell admitted he battled away to achieve "one of the toughest 70s of my life" on the second day of the LV = County Championship match with Derbyshire at Derby.
The normally fluent Fell adjusted admirably to coping with an accurate and threatening attack in the bowler-friendly conditions along with skipper Daryl Mitchell (67) who produced another invaluable knock.
The pair added 125 in 52 overs for the second wicket but Worcestershire lost five wickets in the final session and closed on 221-6 – still 135 in arrears – with Fell acknowledging his side had been outplayed so far.
Worcestershire will be hoping Joe Leach (32 not out) and Shaaiq Choudhry can show more defiance on Tuesday and reduce Derbyshire's advantage as much as possible.
Fell told BBC Hereford-Worcester's Dave Bradley: "It is one of the toughest 70s of my life. The ball was kicking off a length and keeping low and swinging and seaming so it was tough going.
"It was a bit of a shame to lose those wickets in clusters which is something we talk about quite a lot. It is important we don't do it.
"But credit to Derbyshire, they bowled really well on the wicket. They bowled straight and didn't give us any bad balls and made it really hard for us.
"They supported each other really well. Mark Footitt is their strike bowler and he bowled fantastically well, real pace, and the others supported him ever so well.
"They just bowled straight and swung it around and made it really tough for us.
"I think that is the hardest innings I've played this season. It is one of the hardest wickets I've had to bat on this year.
"We are quite lucky at New Road from a batters point of view. It tends to be quite slow and low and generally pretty flat.
"The lines they bowled and the way the wicket misbehaved at times made it really difficult."
Fell added: "Conditions have been in Derbyshire's favour but they've outplayed us so far and we've done well to stay in the game as much as we can.
"At the start of our innings, we said 350 was a very good score for them on that wicket but hopefully tomorrow Joe Leach and Shaaiq Choudhry can carry on tomorrow the way they have started.
"It is important we get as close to their score and give ourselves as good a chance as possible."