DURHAM are heading for their first draw of the season today, unless they can persuade their Hampshire hosts to enliven a tedious match by chasing a victory target.

Chris Rushworth provided a spark after tea yesterday when he took the last three wickets in four balls to finish with the superb analysis of 22.1-8-39-6.

That took him to 60 championship wickets as Hampshire's crawl ended on 307, ground out over 110 overs.

Loading article content

Durham extended their lead of 114 to 175 by reaching 61 for one at the close and will look to declare by lunchtime today.

The bottom club are too far adrift to decline the chance of a victory, but they won't fancy chasing more than 250 at nearly twice the rate of their first innings.

The problem is they opted to play the match on a slow turner to encourage 18-year-old debutant leg-spinner Mason Crane, of whom they have high hopes.

The pitch has not been conducive to attacking cricket and Hampshire scored even more slowly than Durham, underpinned by Will Smith's 85 in 212 balls.

When he was lbw trying to sweep Scott Borthwick just before tea, it was only the third wicket Durham had taken in the day. But Rushworth swiftly cleaned up the last four after the break.

Hampshire scored 40 runs in the day's first 26 overs before Graham Onions, still out of sorts, leaked a few.

Ryan Pringle bowled two overs from the pavilion end then switched and immediately had Michael Carberry in trouble.

He beat the left-hander twice then found his edge for Paul Collingwood to take the catch.

There were no more left-handers for Pringle to bowl at and when he dropped short Smith pulled him for the first four for ten overs and repeated it in his next over to reach 50 off 119 balls.

Former Sussex batsman Joe Gatting drove Pringle over long-on for six in contributing 42 to a stand of 65 before Rushworth had him caught at slip by Collingwood with the first delivery with the new ball.

Wicketkeeper Lewis McManus, a 20-year-old from Dorset playing his second first-class game, showed he can bat in making 29 before he became the first of Rushworth's victims after tea. He played back and edged low to gully, where Gordon Muchall held a good catch.

Gareth Berg hit Borthwick for four through the covers off the back foot to avoid the follow-on in a fluent innings of 31.

But after Rushworth had Jackson Bird lbw then splattered James Tomlinson's stumps two balls later, Berg was left with debut boy Crane and lofted the first ball of Rushworth's next over to mid-on.

Durham's debut boy Graham Clark twice clipped Tomlinson's left-arm in-swingers to the leg-side boundary as he and Mark Stoneman raced to 27 after five overs.

But the spinners tied them down, especially Clark, as the remaining 17 overs yielded only 30 runs.

Four overs from the close Clark fell for 15 when he drove at Crane and edged to slip, where Liam Dawson held a brilliant one-handed catch. Stoneman was on 39 at the close.