Durham v Nottinghamshire, Chester-le-Street, 3rd day September 2, 2010

Patel keeps Nottinghamshire in the hunt

Durham 372 and 279 for 5 v Nottinghamshire 343

Champions-elect Nottinghamshire will face an intriguing final day at Chester-le-Street, where Durham lead by 308 with five wickets standing. The leaders were wilting badly in the afternoon sunshine, when Gordon Muchall and Dale Benkenstein were putting on 144 in 30 overs. But Samit Patel halted the spree by taking three wickets and Durham closed on 279 for 5 in their second innings. Unless they are bowled out they will face a tricky decision over when to declare on a pitch still full of runs.

Following his unbeaten 140 at Basingstoke four weeks ago, Muchall made his second century since being recalled to the side in mid-season. He throttled back after racing to 50 off 52 balls, helped by an injury to Darren Pattinson - who came into the match as the replacement for Ryan Sidebottom, who had to link up with the England Twenty20 squad.

Pattinson limped off after his first ball 10 minutes before lunch. His ankle appeared to give way in his delivery stride and when he tried to bowl in mid-afternoon he conceded 26 runs in two overs and retired again. Muchall pulled and cut three fours in Pattinson's first four balls then cut Paul Franks for his eighth boundary to reach 50.

His century came off 129 balls but he fell for 111 when thrusting his pad well forward in attempting to sweep Samit Patel. The left-arm spinner also had Benknestein stumped for 58 and forced Ben Harmison to play on for 11, while Andre Adams had both left-handed openers - Michael Di Venuto and Mark Stoneman - lbw. Adams now has 58 championship victims, five ahead of the field in County Championship Division One.

As Sidebottom had gone in as nightwatchman yesterday and was unbeaten on five, he had to be marked down as retired not out. Pattinson replaced him at the crease and made 19 before he was last out with the total on 343, but his injury meant both sides are a bowler light.

The fact that Mark Davies will take no further part because of a sciatic nerve problem could influence Durham's declaration. Ian Blackwell will resume on 50 and Phil Mustard on 13, looking to set a target of at least 350.