Evening wickets give Durham hope
Hampshire 345 and 174 for 5 v Durham 384
Durham gave themselves an outside hope of forcing a result with three evening-session wickets against Hampshire in their County Championship Division One match at Chester-le-Street. The Durham bowlers toiled admirably on an unresponsive Riverside wicket to leave the visitors 174 for 5 and with a lead of 135 runs with a day to play.
The hosts did so without the services of Mitch Claydon for the majority of the second innings after he suffered an abdominal muscle injury in his fourth over and is unlikely to bowl again in the match. The injury adds to Durham's fast bowling problems, with the county's medical team today revealing Steve Harmison, who is yet to appear this season, will miss at least another four-day match because of a trapped nerve in his back.
Despite that the hosts' short-staffed attack battled manfully with the gentle left-arm spin of Ian Blackwell claiming two wickets and seam trio Claydon, Callum Thorp and Ben Stokes sharing the others. The late rally served to galvanise Durham, who had laboured through the majority of the day after Hampshire's Kabir Ali had run through their tail to claim his second five-wicket haul of the new season.
Durham began the day 61 runs in arrears and with five wicket in hand looking to build a decisive first-innings lead. Kabir quickly dismantled those plans as he made full use of early swing on offer.
The 29-year-old skittled the stumps of Ben Stokes (41) and Phil Mustard in consecutive overs before returning to have Liam Plunkett (41) caught by wicketkeeper Nic Pothas just before lunch. The former Worcestershire quick then finished Durham's innings on 384 in the first over after lunch by knocking back Thorp's off stump for 11.
Durham's lead was therefore just 39 runs and while Hampshire began briskly with first-innings centurion Michael Carberry at the crease, his dismissal prompted a batting malaise. Carberry had been in sensational touch in making 113 in the first innings and raced to 18 by the fifth over before he played back to a good-length Claydon delivery and was given out lbw.
Claydon left the field soon after and with a slow Riverside pitch looking like is was flattening out as the day grew brighter, Jimmy Adams and Chris Benham frustrated the home attack before the former was out on the stroke of tea. After grafting for his 25 from 75 balls Adams swept Blackwell to square leg where Stokes took a good diving catch to his right.
After tea Durham quickly removed former South Africa batsman Neil McKenzie, who blocked a simple return catch to Thorp, before Blackwell's guile prised out Benham lbw after a stubborn 43 from 115 balls. That left Hampshire on a slightly uncomfortable 117 for 4 although teenage right-hander James Vince and Pothas looked like seeing them through the last hour as Durham's bowlers showed signs of weariness.
But five minutes before the end Vince, who displays a striking resemblance to former England captain Michael Vaughan at the crease, chopped on for 46 off the bowling of Stokes to leave the game more open than had looked possible.