Somerset 69 and 485 for 5 (Langer 122*, Kieswetter 106, Trescothick 105, Hildreth 71) drew with Durham 543
For the second match running Durham couldn't force home a victory chance on the final day as Somerset's strong batting order resisted impressively at Taunton. Justin Langer and Craig Kieswetter produced a vital partnership as they added 197 after the visitors had appeared to have made the crucial top-order breakthroughs.
Langer was particularly hurt by the first-innings capitulation for 69 and wore a look of supreme determination throughout his 205-ball innings. When he reached his hundred by lofting Ian Blackwell, who he didn't see eye-to-eye with before his move to Durham, over mid-on, he punched the air with real emotion. Langer has grown into a huge fan of county cricket in recent years, praising its toughness, and this was clearly an innings he relished after fending off a hostile pace attack.
Kieswetter's hundred was his third of the season in all cricket (along with two ducks) and it was another display that showed why he is often mentioned as another likely South African to make the transition to England colours. On a day when the national team's wicketkeeping role changed hands again, Kieswetter's display will be another logged in the memory banks for when he completes his qualification.
Like Kevin Pietersen, Kieswetter plays with a confident strut and isn't afraid to play his shots even when there is a match to be saved with three figures requiring a speedy 108 balls. When he was in the 80s he played a one-handed lofted drive over mid-off that sailed high into the stands. Taunton isn't the biggest ground around, but it showed the power and timing he possesses.
Durham threw everything into trying to prize out nine wickets, but the pitch held together as they so often do on this ground. However, it wasn't as flat as some that have been produced and the quicks continued to get bounce throughout the game while Ian Blackwell found turn in the closing stages. A high-quality spinner would have been fascinating to watch and was about the only skill missing from this match.
It didn't take long for Marcus Trescothick to register the day's first hundred when he glanced a boundary to fine leg, but he had to fight hard to withstand a hostile spell from Steve Harmison. With Graham Onions operating in tandem it was high-quality bowling and Onions was eventually rewarded when Trescothick pushed at a delivery that nipped away and sent an edge to first slip.
Langer was given a testing start by the two frontline quicks and took a painful blow in the ribs from Harmison. James Hildreth, meanwhile, combined resolute defence with the occasional pleasing drive but there is no let-up when facing a Durham pace attack. When Onions was eventually rested, Callum Thorp took over and beat Hildreth who was caught on the crease as the ball shaped back in.
Durham now had an opening, which was pushed ajar even further when Zander de Bruyn's unconvincing stay was ended with a limp push and another good catch at first slip. One more wicket and the victory would have been within view, but the bats of Langer and Kieswetter grew broader by the over.
Durham had the occasional opportunity and perhaps the most expensive miss was when Langer, on 71, edged Thorp and the ball bisected first and second slip at an awkward, but catchable, height. Langer responded by refocusing, only occasionally allowing himself a moment of freedom mostly against Blackwell's left-arm spin including a slog-sweep for six over deep midwicket.
Deep into the last session Durham finally broke through when Blackwell turned one out of the rough from over the wicket and found Kieswetter's edge. Phil Mustard held a good catch at the second attempt and momentarily there was a chance of a final push as the threat of rain held off.
Peter Trego offered a tough chance to short leg off Blackwell while Somerset were still behind, but once Langer carried them into the lead time had run out the defending champions. Durham are going to be a threat all season, but it's been a frustrating start with two victory opportunities slipping away.