Rudolph ton puts win in reach for Yorkshire in the hunt

Durham 213 & 340 Yorkshire 225 & 245-4
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The Independent Online

Yorkshire need a further 54 runs to wrap up the victory that will keep them snapping at the heels of County Championship favourites Nottinghamshire after Jacques Rudolph completed his third century here yesterday in as many matches, although three wickets for Mitch Claydon in the evening session has offered Durham a glimmer of hope.

Andrew Gale's side, who would have been hard pressed to avoid defeat in this match but for Anthony McGrath's heroic unbeaten 124 in the first innings after 17 wickets fell on the opening day, will collect 21 points, limiting the leaders' advantage to six, with a win here.

Nottinghamshire – who expect to resolve Ryan Sidebottom's future by tomorrow – have four matches to play against Yorkshire's three, but Yorkshire have still to travel to Trent Bridge, where they are due on 7 September.

It has helped Yorkshire greatly that the pitch here has bucked the usual pattern by getting better rather than worse, with Durham's bowlers finding little encouragement until Claydon removed Rudolph, McGrath and Jonathan Bairstow in a lively late-evening spell.

Yorkshire's target of 299 to win from the best part of five sessions looked all too easy as Rudolph and Adam Lyth put on 113 for the first wicket before Lyth edged Ben Stokes to second slip.

Rudolph completed his 17th century in 61 matches for Yorkshire with his 15th boundary but had not added to it when he was bowled by Claydon, who struck again when McGrath hit him straight to Stokes at cover.

With only 95 more needed at that point, Yorkshire had no cause for alarm but when Bairstow was caught behind with four overs left in the day they sent in Steve Patterson as nightwatchman ahead of Tim Bresnan, who had rushed back to the Riverside by train and taxi after providing "cover" for England's bowlers at The Oval.

Patterson took 4 for 87 and Bresnan's stand-in, Oliver Hannon-Dalby, 4 for 73 as Durham were bowled out for 340, Dale Benkenstein making 74.

Nottinghamshire's director of cricket, Mick Newell, who announced that the England spinner Graeme Swann had signed a new two-year contract, said he expected Sidebottom to tell him tomorrow whether he intends to stay at Trent Bridge. Sidebottom, who is out of contract at the end of this season, is believed to want a three-year deal while the county have offered two.