Aggressive Wessels helps set Durham tricky target

Nottinghamshire 270 & 245 Durham 195 & 20-1
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The Independent Online

Durham must score a testing 321 to maintain their Championship challenge by winning this match but with the margins likely to be narrow in a tight race for the title they should curse their wastefulness whatever the outcome after failing to secure even one batting bonus point.

From 135 for four, they squandered a 91-run partnership between Dale Benkenstein and Ian Blackwell to be all out for 195. With the ball tending to keep low at one end and climb at the other, the pitch here might to some extent support a defence of mitigating circumstances but it has been no minefield and the short boundary on the Bridgford Road side offers a balancing factor.

Credit is due to Nottinghamshire's bowlers for limiting the easy pickings but there was some sloppiness from Durham thrown into the mix, starting with Paul Collingwood's leaden-footed waft that had him caught at third slip from the second ball of the morning.

It continued when Blackwell, having done valuable rebuilding service with a run-a-ball half-century, smacked a careless return catch to spinner Graeme White just before lunch and ended when Callum Thorp took a big swing at the same bowler, with that batting point just five runs away, but neglected to return to the crease when he missed.

Andre Adams finished with three for 61 to raise his tally for the season to 59, with last season's career-best 68 wickets in his sights, but it was the rumbustious Kiwi's swinging bat that may have taken the game away from Durham.

Despite a bold 84 from Riki Wessels off 68 balls, Durham had the home side seven down for 159 in their second innings, at which point Notts' lead was 234. Mitch Claydon did his best to compensate for the absence of Graham Onions, Steve Harmison and Ben Stokes by taking five wickets but Adams transformed the picture with a flurry of boundaries in a 48-ball unbeaten 53.