Durham face nailbiting chase

Lancashire 84 & 282 Durham 186 & 27-3

Durham may have looked as fallible as Lancashire as both sides were bowled out on the opening day here, but no one in the visitors' dressing room will be too worried if they leave here today celebrating a sixth victory of the season.

Given what happened on the opening day, when the ball swung prodigiously and 20 wickets fell, seeing it through might not be straightforward, particularly after a torrid 10 overs last night had them wobbling at 24 for 3.

Lancashire have a 100 per cent record in three matches here this season. It will take probably one decent partnership to swing the balance in Durham's favour but a target of 181 still looks challenging.

With a game in hand, defeat would not be catastrophic for the home side, but a win for Durham would stretch their lead over Lancashire at the top of the First Division to 23 points – hardly enough to ensure a third title in four years but one that might make them favourites, with Warwickshire 54 points behind in third.

Yesterday Peter Moores, Lancashire's former England coach, had a ready response to those who had questioned the quality of this year's championship in the light of an opening day here that was bizarrely reminiscent of a club game, with one batsman after another easily undone by accurate swing bowling.

"To say that would be grossly unfair," he said. "It was strange to see 20 wickets fall in one day because some of the cricket played this season has been of very high quality. Look at the way Durham batted against Yorkshire, for example, scoring 400-odd in 70-odd overs. They have been solid all season, as we have."

Indeed, Durham can boast 15 first-class hundreds this season, shared among eight players. They probably have the strongest hand of bowlers, too, and were impressive in the way they stuck to their guns yesterday after Lancashire, in stark contrast to day one, went through the first session for the loss of only one wicket, somewhat given away with a loose stroke by Stephen Moore.

The rest of the day was altogether more productive for them. Four wickets in the afternoon session followed, including a couple for Steve Harmison after some familiar radar problems, with another five after tea. Graham Onions, with a couple of inside edges to get rid of Gareth Cross and Saj Mahmood, finished with four for 74.

Junaid Khan smashed the leg-spinner Scott Borthwick over the top for six but the real thorn in Durham's side was Luke Procter, who hit eight fours in what might be a crucial second Championship half-century if Durham falter.

Kyle Hogg cranked up the pressure on them by getting Michael di Venuto and Gordon Muchall leg-before, with nightwatchman Onions then falling to a fine catch at gully from Saj Mahmood's first ball. A gripping third day awaits.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor