|Ground:||Riverside Ground, Chester-le-Street|
|Scorecard:||Durham v Yorkshire|
|Event:||Specsavers County Championship 2016|
Durhams South African import, Keaton Jennings, batted throughout the third day of the home match against Yorkshire to turn the match virtually on its head. Durham had looked in danger of a three-day defeat at the start of play; by the close they had set Yorkshire over 300 runs to win and still counting. Jennings, helped most of all by his captain Paul Collingwood and the all-rounder Usman Arshad in major partnerships, finished the day unbeaten with his highest first-class score of 185.
Durham resumed their second innings at 98 for three, still 53 runs behind Yorkshire; Jennings had 46 and Mark Richardson 6. Richardson nudged and edged the first two deliveries of the day for two and four, but after that did not last long. Jennings called him for a quick and unnecessary single to square leg, he was slow to respond, and Ben Coad, the fielder, needing to make a direct hit at the bowlers end, did exactly that, forcing the unfortunate batsman to depart for 13, with the score 105 for four.
Then the fightback began, as Collingwood joined Jennings, who was actually stuck on 46 for 35 minutes before getting his first run of the day. He finally reached his fifty off 138 balls. Perhaps Yorkshires most vital miss of the match came when Collingwood had 19 and top-edged a ball high to the keeper Andy Hodd, who could not hold it.
At 12.20 the score reached 153, and Durham had wiped off their deficit. Collingwood got many of his runs early on down to the vacant third-man area, which Yorkshire eventually plugged temporarily. But throughout the day they were to yield too many runs backward of square on the off side. Durham went in to lunch at 191 for four, the obstinate Jennings on 77 and Collingwood 44.
After the interval Collingwood soon reached his fifty off 93 balls, but when he had 52 Yorkshire were convinced they had him trapped lbw to Patterson, but the umpire was uncooperative. The New Zealand Kane Williamson, though, bowling his off-spin from the other end, found his umpire more sympathetic, and Collingwood had to depart for 61. He faced 119 balls and hit seven fours in his partnership of 117 with Jennings, and had played a noble captains innings in starting to turn the tables on the reigning champions.
With Ryan Pringle as his new partner, Jennings reached his ninth career century off 228 balls, but it was a near thing, as he chanced a risky third run to reach the landmark, and only beat the throw from Jack Leaning by a very narrow margin. Soon after that he lost Pringle, bowled by a fine delivery from Tim Bresnan that moved in, kept slightly low and shattered his stumps; 252 for six.
Then came the next major partnership to break Yorkshires grip. With the arrival of Arshad, Jennings became more aggressive, going for his strokes as the bowlers lost their accuracy. He settled down again, though, as he found Arshad batting very capably, despite being dropped off a difficult chance in the slips when 34, just before tea. Arshad quickly made Yorkshire pay with some aggressive hitting and had reached 49 by the interval, with Jennings on 133 and the total now 335 for six. Yorkshire were now suffering from their decision to play only four specialist bowlers, two of them inexperienced and not one of them a spinner; Adam Lyth and Williamson, and later Leaning, had to fill in here with their part-time off-breaks.
More landmarks were achieved soon after the break, Arshad reaching fifty off 66 balls and Jennings going to 150 off 304 balls, just after the century partnership was passed. After the team 400 was reached, Arshad passed his previous first-class career highest score of 83, but then almost immediately wafted at a ball from Coad outside his off stump to be caught low down by the keeper for 84 Coads first wicket in first-class cricket. He had faced 115 balls and hit eight fours and two sixes in a fine innings, after an outstanding partnership of 156 for the seventh wicket with Jennings; the total was now 408.
Jennings at this stage was struggling to score, perhaps overcome by fatigue. Barry McCarthy scored 11 before the admirable Patterson finally had a reward, getting him caught at the wicket off a fine ball that moved away from him; 425 for eight. With Chris Rushworth now in and playing an occasional belligerent stroke, Jennings crept past his previous first-class best of 177. There was little fuel left in the tank, but he survived the day to fight again on the final morning, with 185 not out, and Rushworth 16, of a final score of 452 for eight, now 301 runs in the lead.
Yorkshires hero of the day was Patterson, who put in a magnificent workhorse effort to finish the day with total figures for the innings of 33 overs, with 17 maidens, and two wickets for only 62 runs. None of the other bowlers conceded below three an over. There could well be a classic finish to this match on the final day.
(Article: Copyright © 2016 John Ward)