Durham face survival battle after Tom Lace, Harvey Hosein set up Derbyshire

Harvey Hosein Getty Images

Durham 171 and 10 for 0 need a further 351 to beat Derbyshire 197 and 334 (Hosein 62, Lace 61, Critchley 51)

Durham's openers stood firm to halt Derbyshire's victory charge on day three of the Division Two match at the County Ground. Alex Lees and Gareth Harte battled through a testing last session to reach 10 without loss at the close in pursuit of an unlikely victory target of 361.

Derbyshire had taken control with Tom Lace making his maiden first-class half-century before Harvey Hosein and Matt Critchley also scored fifties as Derbyshire reached 334, with Matt Salisbury taking 3 for 65. That left Durham an awkward 17 overs to survive and Lees and Harte dug in to deny Derbyshire before bad light ended play early.

Although Derbyshire went into the day with an advantage of 133, Durham still had a chance if they could take early wickets but they managed only one in the morning as Lace and Alex Hughes wore down the bowlers.

The ball moved around in murky conditions but although the bat was beaten numerous times, Durham had to wait 18 overs for the breakthrough. Lace and Hughes played with discipline and restraint until Lace fenced at a wide one from Harte and was caught at second slip.

Hosein provided some acceleration to take the lead past 220 at lunch and after Hughes had been caught behind off Harte for a three-hour 39, Critchley took the game away with some punishing strokes. He reached 50 off 60 balls and Durham's frustration grew as both Hosein and Critchley survived dropped catches that should have been taken.

Both fell before tea but by then, Derbyshire were 320 ahead and they batted on with Ravi Rampaul striking Liam Trevaskis for two big sixes before he was last out pulling Salisbury to midwicket.

Durham were set what would be the second-highest successful fourth-innings chase at Derby and although the pitch had flattened out, they faced a tricky period before the close.

At least conditions were better for batting but there was some swing with the new ball and Tony Palladino almost found the edge of skipper Lees' bat in the second over. Lees responded by punching an overpitched delivery down the ground but generally the batsmen were content to leave as many balls as possible with survival until stumps the prime objective.

Only nine runs came from the first 11 overs as Lees and Harte concentrated on defence and their application was rewarded when the umpires took the players off the field two balls into the 15th over.

Durham 4th innings Partnerships

1st83AZ LeesGJ Harte
2nd0WR SmithGJ Harte
3rd37MJ RichardsonGJ Harte
4th57GJ HarteJTA Burnham
5th8SW PoynterGJ Harte
6th1SW PoynterL Trevaskis
7th9BA RaineL Trevaskis
8th4WJ WeighellL Trevaskis
9th10MET SalisburyL Trevaskis
10th26C RushworthL Trevaskis