Durham battle hard following on
Essex 484 v Durham 198 and 147 for 2
Defending champions Durham found themselves following on 286 behind and needing a backs-to-the-wall effort to avoid starting their campaign with defeat against Essex at the Riverside.
Chris Wright, Tim Phillips (3 for 8) and Ryan ten Doeschate each took three wickets - seven fell for 33 runs in under a session - as Durham were bowled out for 198 in reply to 484 on the third afternoon of their Division One match.
When Kyle Coetzer and Will Smith then both made second-innings ducks, Durham were four for two. By tea, they had at least moved to 24 without further loss. Essex had eked out just two wickets before lunch in a match which seemed destined for a draw on a sedate pitch.
But Dale Benkenstein and Ian Blackwell were able to add only three runs before they went in early afternoon and Durham's last nine wickets lasted only 35 overs. Durham resumed on 83 for 1 before some unpredictable low bounce did for Coetzer (55), who had no chance with a ten Doeschate shooter which saw him off lbw.
The opener had hit seven fours in his 115-ball 50, and was the more convincing contributor in his 91-run stand with captain Smith. Smith had escaped on 28 when dropped by Alastair Cook, but James Foster made no mistake when Smith edged behind following some more low bounce from Wright (3 for 42).
Benkenstein and Blackwell were nonetheless nicely established by lunch, with Durham needing 173 more to avoid the follow-on. However, Blackwell soon chopped a long hop from Wright onto his stumps and Benkenstein edged a catch behind down the leg-side off David Masters.
Phil Mustard was lbw trying to clip ten Doeschate (3 for 53) to leg, and then the introduction of Phillips' spin brought two more in one over. A modicum of turn did the trick for the left-arm orthodox, teenager Ben Stokes edging behind and Callum Thorp bowled for a second-ball duck.
A ninth-wicket stand of 20 between Liam Plunkett and Mitch Claydon briefly interrupted the procession, only for both to succumb in quick succession and make the enforcement of the follow-on a formality.
Once Masters had then shifted Coetzer and Smith - bowled and edging a useful delivery behind respectively - inside three overs second time round, the danger of a first home defeat since June 2008 was all too evident. Durham had not followed on since September 2006, so whatever the outcome of their struggle they could hardly draw on recent experience.