Durham v Notts, Chester-le-Street, 3rd day

Mustard delays Nottinghamshire's celebrations

David Hopps at Chester-le-Street

April 14, 2012

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Durham 129 and 203 for 9 (Mustard 80, Adams 4-54) trail Nottinghamshire 161 and 335 by 164 runs

The Durham members began by stamping their feet to keep the cold at bay. They ended by voting with their feet and walking out altogether. Two batting collapses and the likelihood of a heavy defeat in three days which was prevented only by some tomfoolery from the last pair did little to justify their strong hopes that the championship could return again to English cricket's most northerly first-class county. When the fun ended at 7.30pm, with the sun falling fast behind the Don Robson Pavilion, not a solitary spectator remained in the pavilion stand to glower their disapproval.

Phil Mustard's 80 from 103 balls, with 12 fours and two sixes, did most to clip Nottinghamshire's advantage to 164 runs by the close, but for all his pugnacious blows, Durham's captain has rarely put up such hollow resistance. Sunday's forecast is dry.

Michael Lumb had taken a match chilled to the bone and put it beyond reasonable doubt long before Callum Thorp ended his innings at 131. The bulk of it had been made the previous day and it has reawakened Lumb's championship career. Nottinghamshire were already strongly placed at the start of the third day at 231 for four, 263 ahead, and another 104 runs from their last six wickets was ample.

It was 7pm, already an hour beyond the scheduled close, when Nottinghamshire claimed the extra half-hour with Durham 176 for eight. Mustard carved one more boundary before he fell to the fourth ball in overtime, caught at backward point by James Taylor, who had seen many cuts whistle past him in the previous hour as Nottinghamshire became over eager for the kill.

In the penultimate over, Durham's last man Mitchell Claydon was almost caught at short leg off Andy Carter and later in the over he had to dive back into his crease to avoid being run out. As the sleet that had held off all day rasped into the fielders' faces, Adams had a finally opportunity to finish the match. Three balls from the end Claydon and Onions had a mid-wicket conference. In the old days, one would have said to the other, "Give it up, lad."

But professionalism is now limitless. Claydon middled the first two and, after finding himself on strike, Onions took off his gloves and adjusted his clothing with great deliberation before allowing a bouncer from Adams to pass harmlessly through to the keeper. Adams ended the day with four for 54 and calls were made home to say that another hotel night awaited.

What price Andre Adams completing a hat-trick of Nottinghamshire player of the year awards after he took the prize in 2010 and 2011? His swing bowling brought 67 wickets last season, only one fewer than 2010, and he had three more victims as Durham lost their sixth wicket, at 54, by the 26th over, four overs quicker than they had subsided first time around.

Adams, coming on as first change, struck with the third and fifth ball. Will Smith, who was persuaded to resign as Durham captain two years ago after a defeat against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge, fell lbw and two balls later Mark Stoneman edged to third slip. Adams struck the stumps for his third wicket, an excellent delivery to account for Ben Stokes, so ending the main business of the day for the watching Test selector James Whitaker.

Whitaker, incidentally, is viewed by many as the inventor of the huddle which came into being during a particularly chilly day at Derby in his time as Leicestershire captain. Until that final, taunting shower, Chester-le-Street missed the sleet that reduced temperatures in parts of Durham to as low as 4C, but it was still cold enough for penguins to seek company. Cricket spectators are a different breed and they dotted themselves around virtually-empty stands with a very English determination to keep as much distance as possible between themselves and others.

David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

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David Hopps David Hopps joined ESPNcricinfo as UK editor early in 2012. For the previous 20 years he was a senior cricket writer for the Guardian and covered England extensively during that time in all Test-playing nations. He also covered four Olympic Games and has written several cricket books, including collections of cricket quotations. He has been an avid amateur cricketer since he was 12, and so knows the pain of repeated failure only too well. The pile of untouched novels he plans to read, but rarely gets around to, is now almost touching the ceiling. He divides his time between the ESPNcricinfo office in Hammersmith and his beloved Yorkshire.
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