DURHAM moved steadily to 50 for one in reply to Yorkshire’s first innings score of 426 when heavy rain washed out play on the second day of the LV= County Championship match at Headingley.
That left Durham to make a further 227 to avoid the follow-on which Yorkshire will probably be keen to enforce in their bid to overtake Nottinghamshire at the top of the First Division table.
Yorkshire began the second day on 367 for seven with 14 overs left in which to score the 33 they required for a fifth batting bonus point - and they got there with just one ball to spare and their last pair at the wicket.
Tim Bresnan and Steve Patterson, the overnight batsmen, were not together for long because the third ball of the day’s second over from John Hastings was edged by Bresnan into the safe hands at second slip of Scott Borthwick, who completed his third consecutive catch.
There was sufficient lift in some of the short pitched deliveries to worry the tail-end batsmen and Patterson received a snorter from Mark Wood which he deflected to Paul Collingwood at first slip but the Durham captain put the chance down.
Patterson was less fortunate, however, when he gloved a sharply rising ball from Mark Wood to wicket-keeper, Phil Mustard and at 380 for nine Yorkshire were still a long way off that final batting point. The wicket was Wood’s fifth of the innings and he deservedly finished with five for 87 from 24 overs, making him easily Durham’s most effective bowler.
Ryan Sidebottom and last-man Jack Brooks had no intention of giving up and Brooks played Wood to the mid-wicket boundary before he was struck on the hand by the bowler while taking evasive action.
Everything was still in the balance at 388 for nine in 106 overs at which stage Collingwood called on Borthwick for a solitary over, but he brought his leg-spinner back for the 110th over when Yorkshire wanted just one more run to reach the 400 mark. Brooks failed to score off his first four deliveries but then swept his fifth to the boundary to draw loud applause from the home fans.
A further 26 valuable runs were added by the tenth-wicket pair before Sidebottom swept hard at Borthwick and was caught on the mid-wicket boundary by Phil Coughlin for 25, leaving Brooks unbeaten on 27 and the stand worth 46.
When it was Yorkshire’s turn Sidebottom and Brooks could not part Stoneman and Keaton Jennings in the nine overs up to lunch, although Sidebottom struck Stoneman painfully on the ankle, the appeal for lbw being rejected.
Durham resumed after the interval on 20 without loss and although Patterson was the pick of the attack, narrowly missing the edge of the bat on several occasions, twice in one over he was guided to the third man boundary by Jennings.
Yorkshire had to wait until the 16th over to break the stand when Bresnan found the perfect length and Stoneman, on 21, was unable to avoid contact as the ball went through to wicketkeeper, Jonny Bairstow.
Borthwick came in at 39 for one and soon afterwards appeared to give a sharp low chance to Adam Lyth at second slip off Bresnan but the ball did not stick.
In the same over, the players came off for light rain at 49 for one and play resumed after a 40-minute break but only a further five deliveries were possible and one run added before they were off again, the rain this time turning so heavy that play was abandoned at 4.30pm with around 53 overs lost.
Yorkshire coach Jason Gillespie said: “It is disappointing that the weather is playing a role but that it something we cannot control. It is frustrating, however, and it would be great if Headingley had a roof on it!
“With over 400 on the board, I think we are still in a very good position in the game and have bowled quite well so far, but we know that to have any chance of winning we will have to spend a long time in the field.
“It was not ideal to lose a flurry of wickets yesterday afternoon but we have learned some good lessons on bowling on these particular surfaces. You have got to pitch it up - as Mark Wood did in his good spell for Durham. You can get rewards if you hit the shoebox, as they say in Australia.”