PREVIOUSLY reluctant to talk up his side's chances, Durham skipper Paul Collingwood insisted after yesterday's innings defeat by Yorkshire that the title race is not over.

“We have to keep things in perspective,” he said. “The championship is won over 16 games and we have won six out of nine. It's been a magnificent effort and we have seven games left to do something special.

“In this game we were beaten by the better side over four days and there's no shame in that. The seventh-wicket stand of 366 really took the game away from us.

“Jonny Bairstow gave one half chance in his double century, but there was a decision early in Tim Bresnan's innings which I was very disappointed with. If that had gone our way it could have been a different game.”

The sides meet again at Scarborough on August 7 and Collingwood added: “Because they outplayed us here it doesn't mean they will do it there. They have given us a bit of a lesson with their top-order batsmen showing a lot of patience in seaming conditions on the first morning. They got their reward for that.

“As batsmen we are quite an attacking bunch, but we mustn't make that an excuse. We have not batted well in our first innings all season.

“And in the second innings here too many got out in the 20s. This was one of the best pitches we have had here and when you get in on a surface like that you have to convert.

“We are either playing horrible cricket or excellent cricket and there wasn't much excellence in this game. But I still know we are capable of great things.”

The reality is that Yorkshire's depth allows them to overcome the loss of four Test players more easily than Durham cope without Ben Stokes and Mark Wood.

There have been other big Yorkshire stands in recent meetings, but when Phil Jaques and Kane Williamson put on 264 at Scarborough two years ago it was Stokes who removed both in his match-winning role.

Then at Headingley last year Adam Lyth and Alex Lees put on 270 for the first wicket before Wood suddenly took four wickets as five went down for 21.

Coach Jason Gillespie alluded to Yorkshire's depth when he said: “It's saying something when such a good young player as Matthew Fisher can't get in the side.”

Another who probably wouldn't get in the full-strength side on current form is Gary Ballance, even though he's in the England squad.

While Yorkshire took a massive stride towards retaining the title by moving 11 points clear with a game in hand, Durham remain second but are only four ahead of Middlesex.

Warwickshire, who are fourth, entertain Yorkshire next week then visit Chester-le-Street. But they have been weakened by the loss of Keith Barker with a calf injury, which will be a particular relief to Durham.

Yorkshire needed only 82 minutes to take the six remaining wickets yesterday to wrap up victory by an innings and 47 runs.

“Making the opposition follow on is hard work, especially in such warm weather,” said Gillespie.

“Our bowlers all bring something different. Steve Patterson might be the dot ball king, but that's an important role for us. It allows Jack Brooks to keep attacking.

“Adil Rashid was brilliant. The consistency was there and he spun the ball hard. It was a good challenge for him and I keep saying he's ready for the next level. He was used well in the ODIs and it has helped his confidence.”

Durham were all out for 302 after resuming on 244 for four. After two innocuous overs from Brooks, Yorkshire turned to Patterson, who struck with his first ball. Gordon Muchall, who made 26, played very late at an in-swinger which trimmed his off stump.

That made it 251 for five in the 75th over and the new ball, taken after 82, did the rest. Rashid, who had bowled 31 overs unchanged to take two for 90, was replaced by Ryan Sidebottom, who had Mark Stoneman lbw for 131 in his third over.

His next ball was edged just wide of third slip by John Hastings, but he also fell lbw to an in-swinger two overs later then Ryan Pringle hooked Brooks straight to long leg.

Brooks finished with the flattering figures of four for 66 after having Jamie Harrison lbw and a flailing Chris Rushworth caught behind.

Muchall, who followed his innings of 81 not out and 115 at Arundel by making nought and 26, headed straight for the nets afterwards.

Although there seems little prospect of Yorkshire slipping up, Collingwood remains focused on maintaining a challenge.

Asked if it was time to blood young batsmen, he said: “We are giving an opportunity to Ryan Pringle. He has made runs in the second team and played in this game primarily as a batsman.”

*Triallist Conor Harvey, a 19-year-old all-rounder from Castleford making his first appearance for Durham seconds, took five for 11 yesterday.

His seam bowling routed hosts Northamptonshire in a 50-over match, which Durham won by 58 runs despite being all out for 191 in 39 overs. Only Jack Burnham (69) and Stuart Poynter (67) made double figures.