A TWO-WICKET burst from England’s James Anderson ensured Lancashire will go into the third day of their Specsavers County Championship Division Two clash with Durham in a dominant position after a compelling day’s cricket at Sedbergh School.

The visitors closed on 199 for 5 still trailing Lancashire’s first innings score by 138 runs, but it was a vintage spell from the legendary paceman that brought the crowd to their feet in the final session as Anderson dismissed both Cameron Bancroft and Graham Clark in quick succession, with Clark becoming the veteran bowler’s 950th First Class victim.

Cameron Bancroft, Durham's captain, said: "As opening batsmen you want to put on good partnerships to help the team start well so it was nice that Alex (Lees) and I were able to do that.

"It felt like the heavy roller was necessary and I think it helped deaden the wicket. The bowl started to keep a bit lower and it was a tactic we wanted to use today.

"Anderson and Onions are obviously always going to challenge you so it was a good test today and I really enjoyed it.

"We had three 50 run partnerships today and when you're batting as a group, in order to put big totals on the board you need partnerships so we are going in the right direction and we want to keep pushing to get a score as big as we can.

"It is a beautiful ground and you can't help but feel quite relaxed around here surrounded by beautiful countryside. It is nice to bring cricket to places where they don't necessarily get to see much First Class cricket and so far it has been good."

Resuming on 275 for 5 at the start of the day after a half hour delay for rain, the Red Rose did not hang around with the bat, with Anderson and Graham Onions no doubt eager to use the conditions which saw squally showers give way to bright sunshine as the day progressed.

Steven Croft was the first wicket to fall for 42 as Durham skipper Bancroft pouched a fine leaping catch at second slip off the bowling of Brydon Carse.

Moments later, Dane Vilas’ crucial knock of 72 ended when he toe-ended a straight drive to Nathan Rimmington to hand Chris Rushworth his third wicket of the innings and his 650th in all formats for Durham.

Lancashire went past 300 and secured a third bonus point, before Saqib Mahmood was trapped in front for two by Rimmington, who then accounted for Onions, who was caught behind without scoring.

Josh Bohannon swung the bat to reach an unbeaten 33, but Anderson offered little resistance, chipping a simple chance to Clark at cover to leave Rimmington with figures of 4 for 74 and Lancashire all out for 337.

To their credit Durham fought back impressively during the middle session as openers Bancroft and Alex Lees coped admirably with Anderson and Onions.

Bancroft was the chief enforcer, hitting eight boundaries on his way to reaching his half-century and playing the dominant role in an opening stand of 70 runs, before Lees (16) top edged an attempted clip off his legs and was caught by Anderson to give Mahmood his first wicket.

Mahmood proceeded to produce an excellent spell of bowling with Bancroft, who was joined by Gareth Harte at the crease, having to be at his very best to keep the young paceman from gathering further wickets.

The pair had put on 66 runs for the second wicket when Onions finally made the breakthrough, bowling Harte for 14 and sparking an extraordinary period of play which saw Durham lose three wickets for no runs in the space of 17 balls as Clark and then Bancroft departed for 77 after the Australian’s stumps were splayed by a jubilant Anderson.

The day’s unpredictable nature continued late into the day as Jack Burnham and Liam Travaskis occupied the crease for the majority of the day’s last hour, compiling a partnership of 61 for the fifth wicket, before Burnham edged Liam Livingstone to Anderson at slip for 26, to leave Durham 199 for five at the close of play.

Anderson said: "It's still hard to figure out if we're in a good position or not. We're a bit disappointed we didn't kick on and get a few more runs this morning because at 27 for 5 we thought we could potentially get up to 350 or potentially 400.

"They batted really well and got off to a good start and we did well to claw it back in the end because it doesn't feel like the pitch is doing a huge amount. If you get in as a batter you can bat for a long period of time and there's no demons in the pitch just yet.

"I guess we're relatively happy but it depends on how we turn up tomorrow morning because the new ball will be crucial.

"We were thinking about bowling maidens and creating some pressure and luckily Graham (Onions) got a breakthrough and then I followed it next ball which got us on a bit of a roll but unfortunately we couldn't quite kick on and get a few more in that spell.

"I think I remember my first wicket - it was Ian Ward caught behind by Warren Hegg but it was a long time ago! I'm happy to have got to where I am at but it is not something I'm that fussed about. It's about focusing on the moment and trying to do a job for the team - if I bowl well the wickets will look after themselves.

"It's a beautiful setting and a really nice ground and the wicket has held up really well so that's justified us coming here to be honest."