KUMAR Sangakkara lasted just two balls on his Durham debut as Yorkshire piled on the pressure.
The Sri Lanka star, having spent most of the first two days in the field, finally arrived at the crease yesterday morning with his side having reached 69 for two in reply to the visitors’ massive first-innings total of 589 for eight declared.
However, as the Chester-le-Street crowd settled down in hope of a batting masterclass, they saw him depart without troubling the scorers just five minutes later after edging Ryan Sidebottom into the slips, with Adam Lyth clinging on after Kane Williamson fumbled the initial chance.
Sangakkara’s untimely exit proved the catalyst for a Durham recovery, though, as the cavalry arrived in the shape of Mark Stoneman and Michael Richardson.
Both recorded career-best scores as they passed three figures to edge the home side towards the follow-on figure of 440, with the champions battling hard in a bid to avoid a first LV= County Championship defeat of the season.
By the close, they had reached 361 for eight with Jamie Harrison on 15 not out and Graham Onions keeping him company on 12, still 228 behind and needing a further 79 to deny Yorkshire the opportunity to put them straight back in on a day four pitch.
Durham had resumed at 62 for one with opener Stoneman 48 not out, but they slumped to 70 for three as first Scott Borthwick and then Sangakkara departed cheaply.
But Richardson’s arrival sparked a concerted fightback as he and Stoneman put on 136 for the fourth wicket before the latter, whose 131 was the county’s first century of the season, was trapped leg before by former Durham paceman Liam Plunkett.
Richardson took up the challenge and held firm as Paul Collingwood (10), Phil Mustard (three) and Mark Wood (seven) departed, easing his way to 148 before being deceived by Adil Rashid and stumped a ball after lifting the spinner back over his head for six.
Rashid finished the day with an impressive return of three for 70, while Sidebottom and the lively Plunkett picked up two wickets apiece and Tim Bresnan, who perhaps deserved better, one, although it might have been even better for Yorkshire with several catches going to ground.