Durham turn tables in title race
Durham 573 (Stokes 127, Stoneman 122, Richardson 102) and 124 for 3 (Borthwick 65) beat Yorkshire 274 (Williamson 84, Bairstow 82) and 419 (Jaques 152, Williamson 97) by seven wickets
Durham struck a significant blow in the Championship title race by inflicting only a second defeat in 31 matches upon Yorkshire. A second batting collapse in two days cost the league leaders, who are just five and a half points ahead with three games to play. With Durham having four to play, they are the ones in pole position to clinch a third title in six seasons.
Anything other than a draw seemed a long shot this morning with Yorkshire in a position of great strength at 276 for 1 in their second innings despite having been asked to follow-on 299 runs adrift.
Yorkshire were even thinking about pressing for a most unlikely win themselves given a good first session and a half of batting. What followed was quite the opposite to leave their visitors chasing 121 in a minimum of 37 overs after tea for a maximum 24-point haul and a second successive triumph.
Ben Stokes, excellent throughout this match ahead of his commitments in England one-day colours next week, picked up the key early scalps of Kane Williamson for 97 and Phil Jaques for 152 before Scott Borthwick's leg-spin later wrapped up the innings for 419 with the last three wickets.
Borthwick then passed 50 for the seventh time this season, hitting 65 off 85 balls, with a great deal of gusto as Yorkshire's inconsistent attack forlornly searched for a way back.
Durham's game in hand is against Sussex at Chester-le-Street on Tuesday, and a jubilant captain Paul Collingwood admitted: "It couldn't have gone any better. Hats off to everyone who keeps on putting big performances in. I have to keep pinching myself when I've come off after winning a game like that.
"The boys just keep doing it at the right time. I sound like a broken record, but whenever there's a chance to win the game the boys put in big performances.
"The way the boys came out in that first innings to bowl them out for 270 on a wicket like that and an outfield like that - it was like a billiard table out there - was pretty much the reason we won the game."
The loss of Williamson and Jaques, caught at gully and behind respectively, and Jonny Bairstow during the morning meant Yorkshire were only 52 runs ahead with five wickets in hand at lunch. They were three of four wickets to fall after a loss of seven for 63 had hurt them in the first innings during yesterday's third morning.
Wickets continued to tumble after lunch. Adil Rashid was caught at mid-on off Chris Rushworth from the first ball of the session before Gary Ballance departed caught behind off Stokes. At that stage, the writing was on the wall. Liam Plunkett's 42 against his old county delayed the expected before Borthwick wrapped up Yorkshire innings having gone 35 overs wicketless.
With a session to save themselves, Yorkshire made the perfect start with the ball after tea through Ryan Sidebottom, who had first innings centurion Mark Stoneman caught at third slip for a golden duck off the first ball of the innings.
Yorkshire's seamers bowled well without luck with the new ball. There were a number of lbw appeals, a few beat the outside edge and Keaton Jennings was dropped by Ballance in the slips. But Borthwick took advantage of the hosts' desperate need for wickets with 12 fours and a six.
Yorkshire coach Jason Gillespie was magnanimous in defeat. "We were thoroughly outplayed in all departments. It's a disappointing loss," he said. "Full credit to Durham. The pressure situations, they handled them better than us.
"If you play better cricket than the opposition over four days, you'll generally come out on top. That's what happened here. We believe that we're a strong side, so we'll dust ourselves off and meet our next challenge head on." That comes against Sussex at Hove a week on Wednesday.