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March 25, 2014
MCC 282 and 48 for 2 require a further 176 runs to beat Durham 248 and 257 (Stoneman 115, Gurney 3-50)
Mark Stoneman's century helped set a testing target for MCC and a final day of some intrigue awaits in the desert.
With the first century of the new English season, Stoneman led Durham's effort to post a competitive second-innings score but he found little support.
The highest stand was just 60 for the fifth wicket and apart from Gordon Muchall's half-century the next highest score was only 15.
MCC nibbled away with wickets for all but Samit Patel of the six bowlers used. Kyle Hogg removed Keaton Jennings for a duck and Scott Borthwick to create some early pressure, after which his colleagues gave little away.
Harry Gurney broke the only stand of note, the second of his three wickets, and Andre Adams went for only 18 in his 8.5 overs, and took two wickets, including Stoneman after his 172-ball stay.
Durham should feel they have a defendable score. 224 on a final day wicket will take very careful negotiation and MCC are already shorn of both openers who fell cheaply before the close.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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Would he have fared better than the incumbent middle-order batsmen, Root and Ballance?