DURHAM coach Geoff Cook hailed his side’s efforts after they drew their County Championship clash away to Somerset.
A stalemate always looked on the cards after both sides post big first innings totals.
But that didn’t stop Durham from chasing an unlikely victory, and Cook was pleased with the way the visitors went about their business.
He said: “We had to hang in for three days to give ourselves anything like a chance of winning the game, and we did that brilliantly.
“Alex Barrow dug in and did what he had to for his team, but our lads kept going and played some very good stuff throughout.”
Barrow hit a career-best 83 not out to ensure Somerset took a share of the spoils.
The hosts looked in trouble at 135-5 in their second innings, leading by only 100 early in the afternoon session.
But Barrow added 83 for the sixth wicket with Peter Trego (38) and went on to eclipse his previous best first-class score of 69, made against Yorkshire at Headingley in 2011.
Nick Compton couldn’t repeat his first innings efforts of 166 as he departed for 18.
It was 54-2 when Marcus Trescothick, on 25, dragged the ball on to his stumps trying to sweep Scott Borthwick, and 76-3 when Arul Suppiah by Borthwick off Ryan Buckley for 19.
Durham must have scented an unlikely victory when James Hildreth was picked up at slip by Will Smith off Borthwick for a single. At 79-4, Somerset’s lead was only 44.
But despite being unable to remove Barrow, Cook felt his bowling attack couldn’t have done anything more to force the issue.
He added: “We had a little bit of a chance to get them under a pressure, and I thought the bowling yesterday, particularly before lunch was outstanding.
“I don’t think we could have done any more, there was very little side movement off the wicket for the seam bowlers, and the spin off the pitch got less and less as the game wore on.
“(Mark) Wood, (Graham) Onions and (Ben) Stokes did really well, bowling some aggressive stuff, but at the same time giving themselves a chance of taking some wickets.
“The two lads bowling spin (Ryan Buckley and Borthwick) did really well at The Oval, and again this game, and it’s great to show that we have a wide range of skill sets to call upon, and aren’t just relying on the seam bowlers to take wickets.”
Borthwick, Onions and Wood all took two wickets apiece, while Stokes and Buckley weighed in with one each as the sides shook hands on the draw with Somerset having declared on 266-8.
The hosts had posted a daunting total of 458 in their first innings, but Durham replied with 493 all out to give themselves a small lead on day three.
And Cook felt his side deserved credit for their display with the bat as well as with the ball.
He said: “The batting on Saturday was exceptional. People just kept coming in, getting off to a start, and building partnerships, and we ended up getting a small lead, which is a hell of an effort when you’re facing a total of 450.
“Mark Stoneman batted really well as did Michael Richardson, and they didn’t just score runs, they did it in attractive way with some lovely shots.”
Durham host Warwickshire in the Championship at the Emirates ICG, starting on Wednesday.