Alex Wakely insists Northants are still in charge, despite an impressive Sussex fightback at the County Ground.
Jofra Archer and David Wiese shared a record ninth-wicket stand of 127 to give the away side hope in the key Specsavers County Championship Division Two clash.
Northants, who racked up 426 all out in the first innings, had taken control by skittling out Sussex for just 172 and enforcing the follow-on.
And they looked set to seal victory when reducing their opponents to 246 for eight in the second innings.
But Archer and Wiese produced a fine recovery before the partnership was broken by Luke Procter trapping Wiese LBW.
Sussex closed on 382 for nine, with a lead of 128 runs going into the final day.
And Wakely said: “Two guys played very nicely, they played really well, proper shots and made us go away from our plans.
“They have taken the game away from us a little bit but it was still a great effort from our bowlers.
“We know what we’ve got to do and we’re still right on top in the game.”