Richardson defies pitch to frustrate Yorkshire
Durham 231 (Collingwood 64*, Jennings 56, Rashid 4-73) and 323 for 8 (Richardson 95, Stoneman 86, Mustard 57*, Brooks 4-66) drew with Yorkshire 426 (Lyth 143, Lees 108, Wood 5-87)
Yorkshire remain top of the Championship and, as they reflect on their failure to break stubborn Durham resistance on a tense final day at Headingley, they will at least console themselves that they have seen the last this season of Michael Richardson.
Just the sight of Richardson is enough to send their bowlers queasy in the stomach. He bats with a dedicated, upstanding air - and, as the son of the ICC chief executive, somebody would have blabbed by now if he was not that type - but as far as Yorkshire are concerned those virtues are wearing thin. They have outplayed the defending champions twice this season and they do not have a victory to show for it.
Richardson's maiden Championship hundred at Scarborough turned the Championship in Durham's favour last season, he took another off the Yorkshire attack at Chester-le-Street earlier this season and only the most one-eyed observer would have resented him making a third as he intervened to Yorkshire's despair yet again.
Instead, he had 95 from 165 balls when Jack Brooks exploded his middle stump, but the gamest of innings had done enough to secure a draw and stymie Yorkshire's Championship challenge in the process. His average against Yorkshire now stands at 85. Pressure stiffens his resolve and when his own captain, Paul Collingwood, remarked after three days that a pitch was full of holes then he did not need reminding that, in his own words, Durham were "staring down the barrel".
Yorkshire must have feared their wickets column would never quite add up on the third evening when Adil Rashid assessed their challenge. A couple of wickets a session should do it, was the gist of Rashid's message. Durham began the day one down; Yorkshire got their couple of wickets a session, and even added one for good measure. Durham finished with eight down: do the math. Yorkshire supporters yearning for another Championship should demand an emergency Ofsted inspection of arithmetical standards in Yorkshire schools.
Yorkshire's lead was 136 at start of play so runs were important but even so, considering Collingwood's remarks, it was a surprise that Rashid did not bowl to more attacking fields until later in the day; it seemed a perfect time for a bit of psychological pressure. He was solid and he beat the outside edge intermittently but rarely suggested that he could be a matchwinner. He is an improving cricketer. He is not yet an England spinner. Nobody is.
Yorkshire eventually took a big wicket in the morning when Mark Stoneman stalked off cursing Adam Lyth's lbw decision, 86 to his name. Rashid added Gordon Muchall. But at 2.30pm, Durham took the lead with six wickets left and 49 overs left to bat. A desultory cry of "Come on Yorkshire" disturbed a stiflingly hot day. It was a call of creeping desperation, the sort of call that has become common on Yorkshire grounds when Richardson comes into bat.
Richardson's partnership with Collingwood reached 44 before Brigadier Block fenced at one that bounced and turned from Rashid. One of those holes, no doubt, betraying the man who had dared to mention them. But Richardson remained unshakeable. When he stole a legside single off Tim Bresnan in mid-afternoon, a lone cry of "Have A Collection" rent the air. He was scoring rather more quickly, if surreptitiously, than that.
Up above, the jet2 planes glimmered in deep blue skies as they flew into Leeds/Bradford airport. This time there would be no cocky "We have begun our descent into Leeds/Bradford where the temperature is 14C and raining" from the crew, bringing groans of contentment from passengers as their belief was confirmed that every penny spent on 35C temperatures in Malaga was worth it. "It's been beautiful here," is the cruellest thing you can say to anybody back from holiday.
Still, Yorkshire's supporters hoped. When Paul Coughlin became the eighth wicket to fall, a bronzed, bare-chested supporter - almost a Malaga refugee - scratched his chest so excitedly he might have bled at the prospect of victory. Durham were 93 ahead with a minimum 23 overs left. But it was the last wicket they managed as Phil Mustard's well-paced half-century took Durham to safety.
Yorkshire dropped four catches, all of them challenging. Bresnan would have hoped to hang on to a diving chance at short extra when Richardson was 27; Jonny Bairstow had a very difficult leg-side chance off the glove when Richardson was 36. The two after tea were less costly, Bairstow failing to grasp another.
Bresnan was solid, but unspectacular, which must have influenced the decision by his captain, Andrew Gale, not to give him the second new ball. England discard or not, he needed to earn the chance. Instead, he returned with the match virtually dead and the PA announcer gave his name with a resigned air. By then, it might have suited his mood.
David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo