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Yorkshire 272 for 3 for 0 (Rudolph 2*, Sayers 1*) need 391 more runs to beat Durham 362 and 303 for 5 (Di Venuto 143, Smith 67, Muchall 51*)
Barring unusual happenings on the final day, it will be seen that this match was ultimately won and lost in the first session on the third day. Yorkshire began it 98 runs behind with four wickets left with a chance of getting level, but by the time lunch came round Durham were firmly in control seats with a lead of 165 and only one wicket down. By the end of the day, Michael Di Venuto had run up a fine century and Yorkshire were set an unlikely target of 394.
Durham were playing at virtually their best, but it also took Yorkshire to play at their worst. The traditional Yorkshire grit was rarely in evidence today. Within 40 minutes the last four wickets had fallen for the addition of a mere eight runs, and only Matthew Hoggard could not be accused of giving his wicket away. The first to go was Joe Sayers, who fell into Ian Blackwell's trap by scooping a ball to backward short-leg, just before Durham were able to take the second new ball.
Steve Harmison and Graham Onions bowled with fire and purpose, and Steve Patterson had some lucky escapes before he weakly nudged a ball to the wicketkeeper Phil Mustard, who took a good catch well to his right. Hoggard was genuinely beaten and trapped lbw by a fierce delivery from Onions, and Adil Rashid, capable of good runs down the order, then skied a catch to third man as the innings was over, a meek surrender in the end.
Durham's lead of 90 was more than most expected, but perhaps not the champions themselves. Mark Stoneman completed an unhappy match with the bat by falling lbw to Hoggard without a run on the board, but that was the solitary bright moment for Yorkshire during the morning - and there were few more to come later on. Di Venuto was the man who took control, while the Durham captain Will Smith gave him admirable support. Tim Bresnan, who had bowled superbly in the first innings this time found his nemesis in Di Venuto, who feasted off the deliveries swinging in to him - though curiously Bresnan was put on at the opposite end from that where he had done so well previously.
The slaughter continued after lunch, with Di Venuto pausing for contemplation only in the nineties. He reached his century off 125 balls, scoring at almost twice the pace of the invaluable Smith. The latter fell for 67 just before tea, offering a return catch to Rashid off the leading edge after a partnership of 204. The legspinner, like most of the Yorkshire bowlers, was inaccurate at the start of his spell, and Andrew Gale at short leg must have felt in danger as one long hop followed another and he did receive one powerful hit on the body, but bravely picked himself up and carried on.
Di Venuto eventually fell for 143 to a rather tired-looking shot to mid-off. The promotion of Blackwell suggested Durham were considering a declaration before the close, but he had made only six when Jacques Rudolph took a fine diving catch at slip off Rashid. Gordon Muchall played steadily for a fifty off 101 balls, and Durham, having taken a little longer than they would have liked, declared when he reached the landmark instead of waiting for a lead of 400. Rashid, who improved in the final session, took three wickets, while Patterson did as much as anybody to keep the run rate in check.
Yorkshire had four overs of Harmison and Onions to face before the close. To their credit, Rudolph and Sayers survived the final testing act. They can still save this match, but unless rain comes to the rescue, they will have to show much more determination than they did for most of this day.
Yorkshire survive despite Onions' five
It is an excitement unknown in one-day cricket but still loved by the traditionalist: the sight of a team fighting the odds trying to salvage a hard-earned draw
Harmison and Durham edge the battle
This tense, well-fought match continues to intrigue, with Durham pulling slightly ahead on the second day.
Di Venuto flays poor Yorkshire
Barring unusual happenings on the final day, it will be seen that this match was ultimately won and lost in the first session on the third day