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Aiden Markram off the mark for Durham and Cameron Steel shows his mettle

Aiden Markram lets one go AFP

Durham 184 (Clark 64, Griffiths 4-34) and 233 for 1 (Markram 94, Steel 79*) trail Leicestershire 440 by 23 runs
Scorecard

Aiden Markram led a Durham fightback on day three of their Specsavers County Championship Division Two clash against Leicestershire at Emirates Riverside.

Markram entered the crease under pressure after the home side had been dismissed for 184 in their first innings in reply to Leicestershire's total of 440. However, Markram ended his run of three-straight ducks, putting forward a fine performance, although he fell narrowly short of his first century for Durham.

Cameron Steel and Will Smith also found their form, with the former scoring a fifty, to almost erase the deficit and give Durham hope of salvaging a draw from the contest heading into the final day.

The home side began day three 142 for 7, but were quickly skittled out as Varun Aaron, Neil Dexter and Gavin Griffiths wrapped up the innings. Griffiths finished with career-best figures of 4 for 34 as he ended Graham Clark's resistance, notching the final wicket.

Markram breathed a sigh of relief as he avoided his second pair on the bounce, getting off the mark with a glance into the leg side. His confidence surged throughout his innings and he was able to record his first half-century for Durham, reaching the milestone in 75 deliveries, including nine boundaries.

Along with Steel, the duo brought up the 100-partnership in the 31st over and were able to gradually whittle down Leicestershire's advantage. Markram was pushing hard as he found his full flow before the tea break, dispatching the bowlers to the boundary with ease. However, he fell six short of his ton as he was dismissed lbw by Callum Parkinson just after the 150 partnership for the opening wicket.

Steel maintained his vigil at the crease and he recorded his first half-century of the term off 162 deliveries, finding the boundary five times. Smith ensured that Durham did not suffer another batting collapse, combining in an unbroken stand of 81.

Durham still trail by 23 runs, but the efforts of their top order have given them hope of securing a draw. Leicestershire lacked ideas with the ball as the pitch remained flat even after a change of ball. It will take a strong effort in the morning for the visitors to swing momentum back in their favour and end their 17-match winless run in the County Championship.