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April 16, 2011
Yorkshire 88 for 2 and 149 v Durham 327 and 311 for 6 dec
Durham acting captain Dale Benkenstein and wicketkeeper-batsman Michael Richardson piled on the agony for Yorkshire on the third day of the County Championship match at Headingley.
The sixth-wicket pair racked up 187 together before Benkenstein was out for 150 on the stroke of tea, at which stage Durham promptly declared to leave Yorkshire with an unlikely victory target of 490 over four full sessions.
The highest score Yorkshire have made to win a match is 406 for 4 and their highest to draw is 341 for 8. Young openers Adam Lyth and Joe Root, undaunted by the size of the task, got Yorkshire off to a cracking start and Root was still battling away on 38 at the close, by which point Yorkshire were 88 for 2 and trailing by 401.
This was Benkenstein's third Championship century against Yorkshire and the second time he had reached the 150 mark. By the time he fell to a tumbling catch on the boundary edge by Lyth he had received 213 deliveries and struck 17 fours and a six, leaving Yorkshire with a mountain to climb if they were to hold out.
For the second time in the match, South African Richardson showed great application on his Championship debut and he followed up his first-innings 67 with an unbeaten 73 off 136 balls with eight boundaries. The partnership was Durham's highest for the sixth wicket against Yorkshire, overtaking the 130 by Jimmy Daley and Chris Scott in 1994.
The visitors had only one objective in mind when they resumed in the morning on 64 for 3 with a lead already worth 242, and that was to bat Yorkshire into the ground without taking any undue risks.
The plan worked perfectly and Gordon Muchall and Benkenstein treated Ryan Sidebottom and Steve Patterson with respect, as they did Adil Rashid and Moin Ashraf when they took over the attack.
Rashid eased the pressure with two long hops which Benkenstein slammed to the mid-wicket boundary but at 98 Ashraf accounted for Muchall, who was well caught by wicketkeeper Jonathan Bairstow diving to his right.
Yorkshire's hopes of carrying out a successful damage-limitation exercise rose when Ian Blackwell departed to a splendid low catch at first slip by Lyth off Rich Pyrah, making it 124 for 5, but the situation became extremely bleak again as Benkenstein and Richardson assumed complete control.
They stepped up the momentum in the afternoon, Richardson hitting Rashid for consecutive fours on his way to a 104-ball 50, while Benkenstein moved to his faultless century from 174 deliveries with 13 boundaries.
The new ball was taken at 268 for 5 in 80 overs but Benkenstein's response was to drive Patterson fiercely for a straight six, his third 50 using up only 38 balls, and his departure was the signal for the declaration.
Yorkshire skipper Andrew Gale left the field shortly before tea for treatment after injuring his right elbow when diving to cut off a boundary.
Lyth and Root regularly pierced the attacking field to get Yorkshire off to a rapid start but at 64 in the 17th over, with both batsmen on 26, Lyth played an ungainly stroke against Callum Thorp and was caught behind.
Anthony McGrath struggled to seven off 30 balls before Blackwell had him well caught by Michael Di Venuto at slip, leaving Gale to see it safely through to the close with the assured-looking Root.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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