DURHAM’S safety-first approach consigned their LV= County Championship Division One clash against Middlesex to a frustrating draw on a sunny final day at Chester-le-Street.
After setting Yorkshire what proved to be an over-generous target of 335 in their previous home match, Durham skipper Paul Collingwood was not going to make the same mistake again.
His declaration on 240 for six left Middlesex to score 304 in 51 overs and after losing Sam Robson to the 12th ball, the visitors dug in and closed on 165 for six, with Joe Denly untroubled in making an unbeaten 73.
After his first innings duck the previously prolific Robson made seven before he followed an away swinger from Callum Thorp and edged to Phil Mustard.
Chris Rogers and Denly took the score to 41 for one at tea, after which Durham tried to keep Middlesex interested by bringing on Scott Borthwick’s leg spin.
He conceded 32 in his first four overs, but after edging Mark Wood through the slips for four to reach 50 Rogers fell lbw to the same bowler for 54.
The pacy Wood then knocked out Dawid Malan’s off stump and in a final throw of the dice Durham recalled Graham Onions with 22 overs left. In his third over he had Neil Dexter caught behind and in his fourth he had John Simpson well taken low down at second slip by Borthwick.
There were 15.3 overs left when Gareth Berg joined Denly and he survived for 11 before Wood returned and had him brilliantly caught by Keaton Jennings, posted in the unusual position of leg gully. Jamie Harris helped Denly to see out the remaining overs.
Resuming on 89 for one in the morning, 152 ahead, Durham showed little inclination to press on as only 20 runs were added in the first 45 minutes.
They stuck to their normal batting order and were 177 for four at lunch, having added 88 in 30 overs, Borthwick making half of those in moving on from his overnight 11 to 55. It was his second half-century of the match as he cemented his new position at number three.
Durham batted on to add 63 in 13 overs after lunch, during which Collingwood steered Harris to third man and Mustard drove Berg to mid-off.
Gareth Breese made an unbeaten 20 at a run-a-ball and Borthwick’s 82 not out came off 152 balls with six fours.
The draw left Middlesex one point behind new leaders Sussex, with Durham in third place.