DURHAM skipper Paul Collingwood will be looking for a quick breakthrough on the final day against Nottinghamshire to ensure that his heroic hundred is not in vain.
The title chasers will resume on 197 for four, needing a further 178 with Riki Wessels looking dangerous on 77.
He has so far put on 76 with New Zealander James Franklin.
In a match in which 25 wickets fell in the first five sessions, yesterday’s cloudless skies at Chester-le-Street meant it was a day for batting, a fact which would not have been lost on Collingwood as he completed his first championship century for two years.
Although Nottinghamshire slipped to 66 for three, with Chris Rushworth desperately unlucky to take only one wicket, they lost only one more wicket in the remaining 35 overs and that resulted from a spectacular catch.
Michael Lumb initially led a charmed life against Rushworth. With his score on 17 the left-hander had just reached 10,000 first-class runs when he survived a confident lbw appeal then edged two successive balls through the slips for four.
The first fell just short of Scott Borthwick and the second perfectly bisected first and second slip at catchable height.
Lumb’s luck ran out in sensational style, however. He had made 58 when Calum MacLeod leapt high to his right at gully to hold a stunning catch off a fierce slash.
It was a case of a Scot doing a huge favour for an Irishman as the catch gave debut boy Peter Chase his first wicket before he and Paul Coughlin came under fire from Wessels.
In the morning Coughlin’s valuable innings of 39 ended in the third over when he edged a good ball from Jake Ball to Chris Read.
After grafting for two hours to reach 38 overnight, Collingwood would not have fancied his chances of three figures at that point. But he showed great faith in Rushworth, who showed he can handle a bat in making 46 at Taunton in May, but had since passed ten only when scoring 32 at home to Sussex.
His reluctance to apply himself can be maddening, but he knuckled down, no doubt under threat of serious violence from his captain if he didn’t.
The only worry for Durham was that the ease with which he played confirmed that it truly was a day for batting and they needed to set as big a target as possible.
Collingwood is proud of the off-side driving he has fine-tuned this season and a shot perfectly placed between extra cover and mid-off took him to 50.
Rushworth allowed himself the occasional indulgence, twice slogging Gary Keedy to the boundary in front of mid-wicket, but there were also some cultured strokes and a maiden 50 was beckoning when he left a straight one from Ball and was bowled for 45 five minutes before the scheduled lunch break, ending a ninth-wicket stand of 84.
With nine wickets down, lunch was delayed but the captain ensured that Chase saw very little of the strike.
After Ajmal Shahzad conceded 46 runs in six overs on Monday, Nottinghamshire did not risk him again until Collingwood was on 96.
With eight men on the boundary, he twice pushed towards long-on and took two runs to reach his century off 219 balls. Then he tried a scoop shot off the next ball and was bowled to be last out with the total on 309.
It was quite a recovery from 83 for five, but whether it was enough will only become clear on what promises to be an enthralling final day.
LV COUNTY CHAMPIONSHIP DIVISION ONE
Durham v Nottinghamshire
At Emirates Durham ICG.
Overnight: Nottinghamshire 188 (J
W Hastings 4-64). Durham 253 (M
JRichardson 73, M D Stoneman 55) and
196-7 (G Keedy 4-56).
Durham Second Innings
P D Collingwood b Shahzad . . . . . ..100
P Couglin c Read b Ball . . . . . . . . . ....39
C Rushworth b Ball . . . . . . . . . . . . . ....45
P K Chase not out . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ...... 1
Extras (lb8 nb4 pens 0) . .12
Total (92.4 overs) . . . . . 309
Fall: 1-51 2-60 3-67 4-75 5-83 6-136
7-137 8-204 9-288
Bowling: Fletcher 20-1-66-0. Shahzad
6.4-0-50-1. Ball 20-5-60-3. Keedy 32-5-
86-4. Franklin 4-1-14-1. S R Patel 10-1-
Nottinghamshire Second Innings Close
S J Mullaney lbw b Rushworth . . . . .... 14
M J Lumb c MacLeod b Chase . . . ....58
J W Taylor lbw b Couglin . . . . . . . . ...... 6
S R Patel c & b Hastings . . . . . . . . .... 11
M H Wessels not out. . . . . . . . . . . . .... 77
J E Franklin not out . . . . . . . . . . . . . ....26
Extras (b1 lb2 nb2 pens 0)5
Total 4 wkts (55 overs). 197
Fall: 1-22 2-45 3-66 4-121
To Bat: C M W Read, A Shahzad, L J
Fletcher, J T Ball, G Keedy.
Bowling: Rushworth 15-4-40-1.
Hastings 13-3-47-1. Couglin 11-2-49-1.
Collingwood 6-3-22-0. Borthwick 4-0-
19-0. Chase 6-1-17-1.