ECB Reporters Network
Durham 544 for 9 (Lees 181, Burnham 86, Eckersley 71*) Leicestershire 152 for 4 (Azad 53, Horton 52)
Three wickets from Brydon Carse has put Durham in a strong position after day two of their Division Two clash against Leicestershire at the Riverside.
The hosts were able to capitalise on their excellent performance from day one, recording their highest total of the campaign. Ned Eckersley scored an unbeaten half-century in his first game as captain before declaring on 544-9.
Durham began the morning session with the opportunity to build on their platform from day one. Nathan Rimmington scored quick runs to move the hosts towards the 400-run mark. The nightwatchman hit two boundaries through the off side against Will Davis, but the bowler had his revenge to bowling Rimmington for 25. Eckersley arrived at the crease and guided his team over the mark, reaching maximum batting points for the first time at home since August 2017 against Derbyshire.
Liam Trevaskis worked his way patiently to 37 after being dropped by Harry Swindells. However, Gavin Griffiths broke through his defences, pinning the left-hander lbw to deny him a half-century. Eckersley continued his knock after the break, although the pace of the home side's innings was disrupted by the weather.
The newly-appointed skipper found his timing after missing the Vitality Blast fixtures, recording his third half-century of the season from 59 deliveries, including three boundaries. Carse at the other end upped the ante as the hosts pushed beyond the 500-run mark, eclipsing their highest total of the campaign. Eckersley was given a life on 63 as fatigue appeared to wear down the Leicestershire attack when Griffiths dropped a simple chance at fine leg.
Carse attempted to push for his half-century, but was run out seven runs short of the milestone by Wright. Eckersley immediately called time on Durham's innings, walking off with an unbeaten 71. Leicestershire needed a solid response from their openers and received it from Azad and Horton. Both players survived lbw shouts, but were able to grind out their fifty partnership in the 15th over.
After tea, Horton was also caught short of his ground by Carse at the non-strikers end, with the ball just missing the stumps. The latter made the most of his escape, scoring his third half-century of the season from 81 deliveries. Leicestershire were finding the pitch to be tame, blunting the home side's attempt to take control of the contest.
Horton brought up the century stand for the first wicket with a single down to fine leg. However, from the first delivery of the next over he produced a loose drive to a rising delivery from Carse and was caught at slip by Durham debutant Angus Robson. The Durham quick notched his second wicket of the over as Neil Dexter feathered an edge behind to Eckersley. Azad resisted at the other end with a strong defence, reaching his fifty from 117 balls.
Trevaskis made further inroads for the hosts when he turned one through Mark Cosgrove's bat and pad, dismissing the veteran for 21. Azad's stoic knock was ended by a brilliant delivery from Carse, with the opener helplessly gloving to Peter Handscomb, who produced a fine diving catch at leg gully to hand Durham momentum at the close.