Yorkshire 182 for 3 (Williamson 76*) trail Durham 573 (Stokes 127, Stoneman 122, Richardson 102, Sidebottom 4-85) by 391 runs
Advertising your failings seems to be all the rage in Scarborough. A few miles from the town centre there is a banner proclaiming: "Lodges for hire, no hot tubs." Proudly flaunting what you don't have must be a peculiarly Yorkshire phenomenon.
Negative advertising would surely have been Yorkshire's best refuge as the crowd trailed out after Durham made 573 and Michael Richardson produced an entirely unflustered maiden Championship hundred batting: a specialist batsman and wickekeeper in waiting who regularly appears for Durham at No 8.
Banners outside North Marine Road stating: "Nothing's meant to come easy" or "It's tough up north" would at least have helped to create the impression that it was all part of the grand design, and nothing at all to worry about, as Yorkshire's bowlers, with the exception of the exemplary Ryan Sidebottom, foundered on a decent batting surface.
Yorkshire's charge to the title, for the time being at least, has stalled. Richardson, son of David Richardson, the ICC chief executive former South Africa wicketkeeper, guided Durham from an overnight 406 for 6, which had been galling enough, to the sort of total which barring something extraordinary has batted Yorkshire out of the game. They still need another 242 with seven wickets left to avoid the follow-on.
It was not what most of a crowd of 6000 had come to see and they streamed out early, many heading back to dinner at their seaside guest houses, with troubled expressions. It could only get worse if they were offered a Lebanese starter.
Yorkshire, 25.5 points ahead of Durham, who have a game in hand, must steel themselves for the likelihood that they will have to try to spend the last two days batting out time. In the New Zealander Kane Williamson, a late-season overseas acquisition, they have a batsman attuned to such a task, and he remained unbeaten on 76 at the end of the second day. Yorkshire will hope he wins a match during his short stay, but for the moment he can help draw one.
Whatever occurs, a Yorkshire recovery or gradual subsiding to defeat, Saturday is unlikely to be too appealing for home supporters. Scarborough is hosting a cycling festival this weekend ahead of the prologue of the Tour de France coming to Yorkshire next summer and it might be a tempting alternative after two days in which Yorkshire's bowlers might have been climbing Buttertubs Pass.
Durham extended their first innings into the afternoon as Richardson neared his century and, although it was logical enough, tactically, spectators on the popular bank became increasingly agitated. He was 77 when he was joined by the last man, Chris Rushworth. Less than five overs later he had his hundred.
"Game's going nowhere, do they want to win or not?" asked one observer to his mate, as Richardson was actually advancing the game at quite a rate. He had already added 86 in 22 overs with Jamie Harrison for the ninth wicket and the follow-on figure was getting more daunting by the minute. Finally, he sallied down the pitch to Williamson's offspin and hoisted him over long on for a second six - with a foot or two to spare - to reach his hundred. He was last out two balls later, skying Williamson into the leg side.
"I wanted to take it out of Rushy's hands as much as I could," he said. "I thought I would make it my responsibility and take a few risks rather than just ticking over the strike. I was watching that last six just creep over the fielder's head. The relief was quite evident because I have been waiting a while to get that hundred."
It could have been worse for Yorkshire. If Paul Collingwood, 74 not out overnight, had joined Mark Stoneman, Ben Stokes and Richardson in reaching 100, it would have been the first time in Yorkshire's history that they had conceded four hundreds in a Championship innings. They were doubly grateful therefore for Sidebottom's upheld lbw appeal after Collingwood had added only seven to his overnight score.
Yorkshire's reply, as stoutly as Williamson played, never possessed the same sense of security. Adam Lyth, preferred to Alex Lees, fell in the slip cordon during Rushworth's new ball spell and Harrison had Andrew Gale lbw after tea. But the instructional comparison was between Adil Rashid, who delivered his leg spin in such a routine manner he might have been stacking supermarket shelves, and his fellow legspinner Scott Borthwick.
In such a warm, dry summer, neither has made the impact they might have hoped for - Rashid has 25 wickets at 41.84, Borthwick 20 at 37.40 - and both have enhanced their reputation by achievements with the bat. But Borthwick bowled with more vigour and, if he dragged down short balls now and then, he did seem to be trying to spin the ball. It was this energy which had Phil Jaques caught at short leg in his first over. Durham's close fielders felt in the game, and in his 25 overs Rashid never achieved that.
David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo