Durham 172 and 98 for 3 (Jennings 46*) trail Yorkshire 323 (Ballance 78, Lees 71, Bresnan 63, Rushworth 5-93) by 53 runs
For three years Scott Borthwick has been the most consistent run-maker on the county circuit. A fair-haired leggie in the imagination of those who view him from afar, the closer you get the more he transforms into a grounded batsman with an insatiable attitude for runs. Forget the romance of the legspinner, here is a batsman who understands the practicalities of life.
But even for a practical man, a Test audition can be an unsettling business. Runs have flowed for Durham while the pundits have looked elsewhere. Now he is deemed to be in pole position for a first Test appearance at Lord's, he has delivered two single-figure scores against an injury-ravaged Yorkshire side who hold the advantage at the midpoint of this match.
Borthwick ran himself out for 2 in the first innings, risking a single to mid-off only for Andrew Gale to follow up his parry with a direct hit. Second time around, he made 4 in 27 balls, a painstaking innings leavened only by one sumptuous straight drive against Steven Patterson, before Adam Lyth rifled a delivery low through his defences.
Lyth remains an occasional offspinner, albeit a respectable one, and he set off on a jubilant sprint across the square, pursued by several of his team-mates. As an ex-Manchester City triallist, he probably imagined for a few seconds he had just scored the winner for England in the Euros; if there had been a corner flag in the vicinity, he would have slid towards it, in search of the TV camera.
Borthwick could count himself a little unfortunate. He had looked committed to the long haul until then. He had struck the first two balls of his innings, from Tim Bresnan, directly to Gale at mid-off, not remotely considering a run, as if he was trying to come to terms with a particularly unhappy memory.
With the likelihood that he will rest during Durham's game against Sri Lanka A, he has one more first-class game - the visit of Hampshire to Emirates Riverside - to reassert himself before the squad for the first Test is picked.
Yorkshire will not feel they have this match won yet, not with two young seam bowlers on their Championship debut for the county, but they have removed not only Borthwick but Durham's other most consistent runscorer, Mark Stoneman, who checked a drive against Bresnan to be caught-and-bowled.
The addition of Jack Burnham, lbw to Patterson six overs before stumps, felt like a big wicket for Yorkshire. At the close, Durham were 98 for 3, still trailing by 53, and although a pitch that possessed some first-day spice is showing signs of quietening, they do not bat all that deep.
Bresnan's made Durham suffer with the bat for the second successive season as his 63 took Yorkshire from their overnight 129 for 4 to 323, a lead of 151. Last season, his unbeaten 169 at Chester-le-Street came in a record stand of 366 with the prolific Jonny Bairstow. This time he found redoubtable support from Yorkshire's two new boys, Josh Shaw and Ben Coad, as their last two wickets yielded 87.
Shaw, whose season's loan from Gloucestershire was terminated last week, had a top score of 17 in nine previous first-class innings, but he made 24, handled some short stuff adequately and allowed Bresnan to play normally. He was bowled by Borthwick, although as it was a long hop which kept low as Shaw tried to pull, it is not about to form part of Borthwick's ECB show reel.
Bresnan did make more of an effort to farm the strike when Coad appeared at No. 11, making his first-class debut, but he also showed he could handle a bat, remaining unbeaten on 17. After taking 106 balls to reach his half-century, Bresnan had a final sally against the second new ball but was last out when he lofted Barry McCarthy to deep midwicket.
Gary Ballance also contributed to Yorkshire's advantage before lunch with a season's best 78. Yorkshire rattled along until Gale worked the offspinner Ryan Pringle to short midwicket, then Jack Leaning's middle stump was removed by Graham Onions. Paul Collingwood dropped Ballance at first slip off Usman Arshad on 73, but to his relief he had barely stopped reliving the incident when Ballance, deep in his crease, edged a ball angled across him by Onions to second slip.