Di Venuto ton makes Somerset work
Durham 237 and 227 for 3 v Somerset 610 for 6 dec
Two late wickets revived Somerset's hopes of a third successive County Championship win with Durham still 146 behind on 227 for 3 in the second innings of their Division One match at Chester-le-Street. Following on 373 behind, Durham reached 209 for 1 but Gordon Muchall departed for 61 and Michael Di Venuto fell 20 balls from the close for 112.
Openers Will Smith and Di Venuto grafted until the 40th over to reach 89 before the former was trapped leg before wicket by Peter Trego for 30, with Muchall then racing to his half-century off 55 balls with 10 fours. But he added only four runs in the next hour and, as he focused on surviving until the morning, he suffered a carbon copy of Smith's dismissal.
Di Venuto's concentration finally lapsed when he shaped to drive a ball from Steve Kirby which was well wide of off stump and edged to Marcus Trescothick at second slip. Somerset made use of Arul Suppiah's slow left arm, but looked likely to pay for their lack of a spinner as they await the arrival of Murali Kartik from Indian Premier League duty.
Enforcing the follow-on imposed a big workload on their seamers, although they had not been unduly stretched in the morning, when Durham's remaining six wickets went down in 65 minutes. Resuming on 182 for 4 in reply to 610 for 6 declared, the rot set in for Durham when a fifth-wicket stand of 52 was ended by Kirby, who gained an lbw decision when bowling around the wicket to Phil Mustard (22).
Ian Blackwell emerged with a runner following the back spasm which kept him off the field for most of the second day. But three overs later Gemaal Hussain nipped a delivery back to bowl Dale Benkenstein off his pads for 33. Scott Borthwick (15) and Callum Thorp (7) both seemed too anxious to go for their shots and fell to edged catches before Blackwell, running out of partners, chipped a simple catch to mid-on as Hussain finished with four for 49.
He was less impressive in the second innings, while 18-year-old Lewis Gregory bowled two long hops in his first over, which got Muchall under way. Muchall put on 120 with Di Venuto, whose 17th first-class century in his fifth season with Durham was his second in successive matches.
On 38, the Di Venuto chipped Suppiah just short of midwicket but it was as close as he came to a mistake en route to his carefully-compiled 192-ball century. Benkenstein reached 10 in the last three overs, with Ben Stokes unbeaten on six.