Somerset v Durham, County Championship, Taunton, 3rd day April 30, 2009

Trescothick and rain aid Somerset

Somerset 69 and 178 for 1 (Trescothick 90, Hildreth 52*) trail Durham 543 by 296 runs

Somerset were given a helping hand in their quest to secure a face-saving draw against Durham as rain allowed just 24 overs on the third day, but the home side's batsmen were also making a much better fist of their jobs after the embarrassing effort yesterday.

Marcus Trescothick moved to within 10 of a hundred while James Hildreth provided solid support in an unbroken third-wicket stand of 129. For the Durham bowlers, who had such easy pickings in the first innings, it was more like what life is meant to be at Taunton as a gentle-paced surface continued to hold few demons.

Play didn't begin until 1.45 but under overcast skies there was still some swing and seam on offer, as there has been throughout. However, Trescothick led a determined effort and it was far from a stone-walling display, either, as he seized on anything off line to crack 15 boundaries and a six.

Graham Onions suffered the come-down that was inevitably going to happen after a day of such highs on Thursday and he couldn't produce the same threat, although still managed to beat the bat on occasions. Steve Harmison, too, caused a few uncomfortable moments but his line was sometimes poor.

Hildreth, who hit an unbeaten triple century in the opening Championship match, responded to his first-innings duck (one of six for Somerset) with a watchful and determined innings. He passed fifty shortly before the players were forced off the field again.

The good news for Durham, as they search for their opening victory of the season, is that the forecast for the final day is much improved. Somerset's cause has been aided by the elements, but if the sun shines they will have to survive the final 96 overs through their own ability.

Andrew McGlashan is assistant editor of Cricinfo