THE Derbyshire openers took advantage of improved conditions, plus the absence of Paul Coughlin, to put on 99 on the third morning at Chester-le-Street when following on 316 behind.

But they lost two wickets in the last ten minutes before the break as Ben Slater departed for 57 and Billy Godleman for nought. Luis Reece was unbeaten on 42 out of 100 for two.

Under clearer skies than when they were dismissed for 164 yesterday, there were few alarms for the left-handed openers, although Slater edged Chris Rushworth short of first slip on 20 and Reece was on nine when a ball from Graham Onions lobbed off the shoulder of the bat just over gully.

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Slater reached 50 off 73 balls with seven fours but was yorked by a ball from off-spinner Ryan Pringle, which drifted in to hit the off stump.

Then for the second successive day Derbyshire lost a wicket two balls before lunch as Godleman inside edged Rushworth on to his box and the ball dropped on the stumps.

Coughlin is to have a scan on the side injury he picked up in bowling four fiery overs in the first innings, and with 18-year-old fourth seamer Matthew Potts being given only five overs Durham looked short of resources.