Durham v Yorkshire Day 2 - Bob Willis Trophy
Alex Lees led a fightback by scoring an unbeaten half-century for Durham on day two of their Bob Willis Trophy clash against Yorkshire at Emirates Riverside, with the hosts ending the day with a lead of 10 on 106/2 in their second innings.
Day 2 Durham 103 & 106/2 v Yorkshire 199
The visitors added 115 to their overnight total to post a decent score of 199 from their first innings. The Durham bowlers shared the wickets around as Chris Rushworth, Ben Raine and Paul Coughlin each struck three times, while Matty Potts notched the other.
Harry Brook top scored for Yorkshire with a decent innings of 41, but no player was able to make the substantial score required to take the game away from James Franklin's men. There was still plenty for the home side to do to work their way back into the contest. Lees played a resilient knock to notch his first fifty of the term, guiding his team into a slender advantage ahead of day three.
Yorkshire began the day still trailing Durham by 19 runs, but they enjoyed a solid first hour with Dawid Malan and Brook at the crease. Rushworth altered his strategy and attacked from the Finchale End. It brought the breakthrough for the home side as he found Malan's inside edge and Ned Eckersley took a good low catch behind the stumps.
Brook responded by taking the attack to Coughlin, piercing the off-side to find the boundary twice in the same over. The 21-year-old made his way to 41, but then gave away his wicket to Potts when he picked out Jack Burnham at deep midwicket with a mistimed pull. Raine then found his rhythm, pinning Jordan Thompson lbw for one before uprooting Jonny Tattersall's off-stump on the stroke of lunch.
Rushworth snapped up the wicket of Matthew Fisher four balls after the restart, who clipped an on-side drive straight to Lees. Late resistance came from Coad, who took on Rushworth and Raine, thriving off their full length. The tailender made 28 useful runs to guide Yorkshire towards the 200-run mark and a batting point. However, Coad and the visitors fell one run short of their target when he feathered an edge behind off Coughlin.
Trailing by 96, Durham needed a solid start to their second innings. Lees survived an early appeal for caught behind and then edged the ball over the top of the slip cordon from a Fisher delivery. However, he and Sean Dickson guided the home side to the tea break, looking secure at the crease. Dickson struggled to rotate the strike after the interval, and Steven Patterson ended the opening stand at 47 as the South African inside edged the ball through to Tattersall. Lees continued to grind and he made his way past the previous highest score in the match, 41, displaying resilience amid miserly bowling for the visitors.
Brilliant fielding from Tattersall broke a promising partnership between Lees and Cameron Steel, running out the latter at the non-striker's end after he attempted a risky third run. Lees reached his first half-century of the campaign against his former club from 129 deliveries, reaching the milestone with a well-placed drive off Jack Shutt. He and David Bedingham guided Durham back into credit before the close, leaving the contest in the balance.
Durham's Paul Coughlin - 3-46
"We always knew we could keep them within our range and still be in this game. We've put ourselves in a half-decent position ahead of tomorrow.
"The wicket seems to come alive for a little bit, which could be due to the overhead conditions. If you bowl well enough like Ben Raine proved today, something is bound to happen.
"We need to get a score tomorrow and produce more of the same with the ball. Alex Lees and the other batters have done a good job for us, hopefully we can get the runs on the board and give Yorkshire a real tough chase in the last innings."
Yorkshire's Ben Coad - 28. 4-23 first innings. 0-13 second innings.
"It’s been ok. We’re in a good position still. I would still say it’s been our day. I just think the pitch has died out a bit. We knew it was slow all the time, but it was nipping around a bit first morning and first day.
"Ideally we could have got a few more runs, but we were already four down. That was tricky. But to get a 96-run lead and then those couple of wickets and control the run-rate like we have, I still think it’s been a very positive day.
“We’ve seen how it’s gone over the last two days, if we get a couple early on we could really fly through them."