Durham 155 all out (Borthwick 59, Thomas 5-41) and 326 (Richardson 116, Stoneman 97, Rushworth 46, C Overton 5-63, Dockrell 3-82); Somerset 234 (Petersen 78, C Overton 45, Hildreth 43, Wood 5-37, Rushworth 4-70) and 112-0 (Trescothick 58 not out, Myburgh 48 not out).
Somerset 4 points, Durham 3 points.
by Jeremy Blackmore
Somerset finished day three of this championship clash with Durham firmly on top, thanks to a debut five wicket haul for Craig Overton and an unbroken century opening partnership from Marcus Trescothick and Johann Myburgh.
By the close, the Cidermen, chasing a total of 248 to win, were already 112 without loss, needing just 136 more to achieve their second win of the season.
They will be watching the skies keenly though in the morning, with showers forecast throughout the final day.
Durham started the day on 121-1, leading Somerset by 42 runs and spent an untroubled first hour, as Richardson and Stoneman extended their second wicket partnership to 161 runs off a little more than 50 overs.
But approaching his century, Stoneman decided to take on a short ball from Craig Overton, only to top edge the ball through to Kieswetter, who took a superb athletic leaping catch.
Durham were 180-2 and Overton was bowling an excellent spell, getting the ball to swing and move off the surface.
At the other end Dockrell was getting plenty of bounce which helped account for Muchall who cut a ball that sat up straight to Hildreth at backward point and Durham went into lunch on 217-3, with the dangerous Richardson still there on 89.
After lunch, Tres called on Dockrell and Myburgh to get through the remaining overs quickly before the new ball was due, but picked up a bonus wicket when Mustard ballooned a ball from George straight up to Trescothick at short leg.
Durham were then 225-4, with some doubt as to whether Borthwick would be able to bat following his broken finger during Tuesday’s play.
Marcus took the new ball immediately and shortly after Richardson reached his century with a square cut off Thomas for four, Trego had Collingwood sharply caight by Dockrell at backward point for three – 241-5.
Thomas and Trego caused a lot of problems with the new ball, beating the bat on a number of occasions, but it was Craig Overton in his second spell who made the major breakthrough. After almost having him caught and bowled off a leading edge the ball before, Craig rearranged Richardson’s stumps to dismiss him for an excellent 116 – Durham 265-6.
Next, Overton had Wood brilliantly caught by Kieswetter, diving goalkeeper style in front of first slip. And it was two in two for the young all-rounder, as next ball he had Harrison caught at slip first ball and Durham were 275-8.
Pringle and Rushworth then put on a frustrating 35-run partnership either side of tea, before Overton collected a well-earned five-fer by trapping Pringle lbw.
Scott Bortwhick, who’d top scored in Durham’s first innings, came out to bat with a broken finger at number 11 and kept Rushworth company as the Durham bowler smashed his way to 46 off 48 balls with six fours and a six.
Rushworth’s innings was finally ended by an incredible catch by Pete Trego on the boundary. Tregs stuck out one hand and snatched a smartly hit shot from Rushworth clean out of the air. Trego stood there pumped as his team mates gathered around him to celebrate a sensational catch.
Trescothick began Somerset’s innings as if he meant business and with an eye on the weather forecast was clearly keen to get as many runs wiped off the target as possible tonight. He got off a king pair first ball by pulling Rushworth for four and then advanced quickly towards a well struck half-century, his unbeaten 58 coming off 75 balls with 11 fours, many of them trademark Trescothick shots.
Myburgh at the other end soon caught his captain up and by the close had reached 48 off 63 balls with seven fours.
The opening pair scored at around five an over throughout, taking full advantage of some poor Durham bowling. Collingwood will be disappointed after Durham’s probing efforts with the ball on day two and having seen the results Craig Overton achieved on this surface earlier on day three.
Our verdict: This was an excellent all-round effort by Somerset today who have put themselves in an incredibly strong position to win this game. It will be a shame if the weather spoils what should be a well-earned victory tomorrow.
Rushworth and Wood will of course though, be keen to make the most of any overcast conditions tomorrow and try to put the pressure back on.
Craig Overton was excellent today, bowling fast, but accurately and getting plenty of movement in the air and off the pitch. He beat the bat on numerous occasions and fully deserved his maiden five-fer. It caps an excellent match for him, following his highest championship score of 45 in Somerset’s first innings.
Trescothick played a good, positive, attacking innings late in the day. He made the Durham bowlers pay for a difficult missed chance in the slips and some loose bowling to take full advantage of anything that was there to be hit. Myburgh also looked in excellent touch and played some exquisite shots to the boundary.
One other point of note was Somerset’s fielding which was excellent to a man. Sharp and disciplined throughout the day, this is clearly an area we’ve worked hard on this year and some of the catches, notably Trego’s and Kieswetter’s, were exceptional. Fielders were also sharp in the deep, cutting off certain boundaries on a number of occasions.
Craig Overton told the club’s official website after the game: “This is definitely the best day in my senior bowling career so far. They are my best figures in the game so today is very highly rated as far as I am concerned.
“Its always nice to get five wickets but coming back from injury I didn’t bowl so well in the first innings, but today it felt just right and got my wickets.
“Everyone bowled really well and I received great support from George Dockrell at the other end and to keep them to that score was really good.
“Durham started well but we built pressure and took a couple of wickets and then after lunch we got our rewards because we didn’t let them get too far away from us. We then put them under pressure after lunch and that is a big thing in the game.
“Getting runs earlier in the game definitely helped my confidence, especially with me being an all-rounder. We got 79 runs ahead, which gave us a boost going into the second innings.”
BBC Radio Newcastle’s Martin Emmerson told the BBC website:
“Having worked hard to get back into this game, it seems all of Durham’s work may have been undone in the final 23 overs of day three.
“Chasing 248 to win – and with an iffy weather forecast for the final day – Marcus Trescothick and Johann Myburgh set about the bowling with determination and aggression. Trescothick hit 11 fours on his way to the 107th half century in first-class cricket. The bowling was poor and there for the taking.
“Durham really need to up their game on the final day because if the weather does hold this could turn into a procession. They are without the bowling services of the injured Scott Borthwick too, who has a cracked finger.
“Earlier Michael Richardson made 116 for the visitors and is 11 runs short of 500 in the Championship this season. Mark Stoneman made 97 and there was a career-best 46 from Chris Rushworth.”