DURHAM captain Paul Collingwood knows his men face a pitched battle to save themselves on the final day of their LV County Championship clash with Yorkshire.
Home spinner Adil Rashid enjoyed his best bowling figures at Headingley in four years to keep Yorkshire in with a good chance of beating Durham and taking a clear lead in the Division One table.
The leg-spinner captured four for 73 as Durham were forced to follow on in Leeds after being bowled out for 231 – trailing by 195 runs – and they closed the third day on 59 for one, still 136 adrift.
Collingwood admitted the pitch was not helping his side’s efforts, and said: “The pitch is a difficult one and so you have to get in there and find areas to score but the pitch is getting harder and harder.
“The difference between the two sides is the way we bowled in the first two sessions of the match. I think we did all right to get the runs we did on that wicket which is becoming more and more variable and is untypical of Headingley.
“Rashid bowled very well and it is amazing what the sunshine does.
“There was more assistance in it than we had and it will be tough tomorrow. I am surprised Yorkshire took a punt on this pitch for such a big game.”
The eight bonus points which Yorkshire have taken from the match mean they currently share top place with Nottinghamshire.
Durham resumed their first innings in the morning on 50 for one, but Scott Borthwick went quickly, edging into Jonny Bairstow’s gloves after Ryan Sidebottom managed late movement off a perfect length.
Opener Keaton Jennings settled in solidly, however, and was well supported by Michael Richardson.
Jennings advanced with some clean drives to his half-century off 122 balls with eight fours, but, having reached 56, he pushed at the accurate and miserly Steven Patterson and Adam Lyth scooped up the catch at second slip.
In the next over, Gordon Muchall (five) was lbw on the back foot to Tim Bresnan and Richardson (23) soon chipped back the last ball before lunch to Rashid, Durham having slid to 119 for five with three wickets toppling for nine runs.
Phil Mustard and Collingwood rallied Durham, despite a couple of scares, but Rashid broke the stand of 51 by having Mustard snapped up at short leg by Jack Leaning for 17.
Rashid was looking more confident and – after John Hastings had looped a catch to Lyth at slip – he made Phil Coughlin (11) pay for on-driving him for six to get off the mark by enticing him to hit straight into the hands of Jack Brooks at deep mid-on.
Collingwood remained a threat to Yorkshire’s ambitions, and when he received a beamer from Brooks the bowler was given an official warning.
Patterson took the new ball for the second delivery after tea and he shared it for an over with Rashid before pinning Mark Wood (13) lbw. Sidebottom replaced the spinner and his first ball had Chris Rushworth lbw, Collingwood remaining unbeaten on a defiant 64 from 106 balls with six fours.
Both Sidebottom and Patterson were the models of consistency, but the happiest man was Rashid, whose figures were his best at Headingley since picking up five for 137 against Warwickshire almost exactly four years ago and his best in any match since taking five for 78 against Middlesex at Lord’s last summer.
All out for 231 and following on with 26 overs remaining, Durham were given a mainly untroubled start by Mark Stoneman and Jennings and at 33 for no loss, after 14 overs Rashid was brought on from the football end.
But he was given only two overs by skipper Andrew Gale, who then turned to the off-spin of Lyth and it proved to be an inspired move because he clean bowled Jennings with his fifth delivery and Durham were 39 for one.
Borthwick, though, helped Stoneman to see it through to the close without further mishap.
Rashid was pleased with his side’s efforts, saying: “We bowled exceptionally well on a wicket not doing very much and we stuck to our disciplines.
“I felt I bowled OK in patches and it was nice to get some overs under my belt. We have got it in us to execute our plans (today).”