Will Smith ploughed a lone furrow for Durham scoring a patient hundred as the fourth-placed team crawled through the afternoon session, hardly chasing down the Surrey first innings total, more tracking it.
Smith needed a shade over four hours to reach three figures, for only the fifth time in his career. It was his second in the Championship this season and occupied 215 balls and contained 13 fours.
He and Ben Harmison shared in a stand of 55 for the fifth wicket, to which the latter contributed just seven runs in an innings which lasted for 71 minutes and contained only four scoring strokes in the 57 balls he faced. He fell when off-spinner Murtaza Hussain got to bounce a bit more and the ball went off the shoulder of the bat, via the glove of wicketkeeper Jon Batty to James Ormond, who took a comfortable catch at slip.
Smith was then joined by Durham wicketkeeper Phil Mustard, who twice came close to being caught in the deep, the ball falling tantalisingly short of the fielder on each occasion when he was on 13 and 31.
They spent the overcast afternoon keeping out three of Surrey’s four spinners in the side, Murtaza, Chris Schofield and Usman Afzaal.
By the time they trooped in for tea their unbroken sixth wicket was worth 74 runs and Durham were just 18 runs behind Surrey on the first innings.
A lengthy rain stoppage in the morning session meant that half an hour had to be added to the day and tea was therefore put back by 30 minutes as well.
During that opening session Durham had lost their captain Dale Benkenstein, caught behind off James Ormond for 25, after he had shared in a fourth wicket stand of 52 with the stolid Smith.