Durham 232 and 73 for 0 (Stoneman 26*, Di Venuto 44*) lead Surrey 183 by 122 runs
Durham made the most of what play was available on a rain-truncated second day at Chester-le-Street. They killed off Surrey's tail early in the morning to remove them for 183 and then their openers eased them to a lead of 122 by the time stumps were drawn early.
Matt Nicholson was the overnight threat, but he added 8 to his 24 before becoming the first victim of the second day, Liam Plunkett's second wicket, caught by Shiv Chanderpaul. Plunkett then removed Jimmy Ormond on the same score - 176 - before Harbhajan Singh fell for 6, leaving Ottis Gibson with 4 for 50.
Gibson stepped up to fill the gap left by Steve Harmison who left the field with a stiff back after bowling two overs. Harmison was playing his second match after recovering from a hernia operation which ruled him out of the Test series against India. His fitness will be a worry because Durham are set to appear in their first ever final at Lord's on Saturday when they take on Hampshire in the Friends Provident Trophy final.
Mark Stoneman (26*) and Michael Di Venuto (44*) batted for 17 overs of Durham's second innings, during which time they put on a confident 73 to solidify Durham's position. Mark Butcher used five bowlers, but none of them were able to find the breakthrough.
All of the matches which were supposed to be starting today were rained off, which was particularly frustrating title-chasers for Yorkshire - who are playing bottom-placed Worcestershire in the first division - and leaders Somerset in the second.