Jonny Bairstow and Tim Bresnan both hit career best scores in a record County Championship partnership as Yorkshire looked to bat title rivals Durham out of the match on a warm second day at the Emirates ICG.
Durham’s attack asked few questions of the two England internationals, who comfortably guided their county to 557/6 before declaring midway through the afternoon session, leaving the home side with little hope but to bat out for a draw.
The league leaders struggled in response, losing wickets in clusters as the scoreboard pressure appeared too much for Durham to handle in conditions that should have favoured the batsmen. Two wickets for Steven Patterson and one each for Bresnan, Ryan Sidebottom and Adil Rashid left Durham 140/5 at the close of play.
Bairstow, who reached three figures in the penultimate over of day one, eventually walked off on 219 not out, with Bresnan following close behind on an unbeaten 169.
The partnership of 366 was Yorkshire’s highest for the seventh wicket and the highest ever made against Durham, while the visitors also became the first side to reach 500 in the County Championship this season, a feat shortly matched by Sussex down at Edgbaston.
Resuming on 329/6, Yorkshire fell 20 runs short of claiming maximum batting points, while the partnership between Bairstow and Bresnan ensured Durham could not add to the two bowling points they claimed yesterday.
With the home side desperate to break what was already a threatening partnership, Bairstow sliced an attempted drive towards gully, but Durham fielder Ben Pringle couldn’t hold on to the catch. He was made to pay as the England wicketkeeper continued aggressively towards lunch, bringing up his 150 just minutes before the end of the morning session.
At the other end, Bresnan had already brought up his second century of the summer and quickly surpassed his previous highest score in first-class cricket, which was 126 for the England Lions against India in 2007. Durham used nine different bowlers in an attempt to force another wicket, but as the Yorkshire partnership began to break more and more records, it became a question of when, rather than if, the visitors would declare.
Bairstow brought up his entertaining double century from just 244 balls, and quickly added a boundary to pass his previous high score of 205. When the declaration came, Durham were set the daunting target of 408 simply to avoid the follow on.
The home side appeared aggressive in response, but the early introduction of spin by captain Andrew Gale saw the end of Keaton Jennings. The South African-born opener couldn’t pick out Rashid’s googly, before Stoneman fell shortly after to leave Durham two wickets down at tea.
The batting side struggled to build momentum, and lost further wickets as Paul Collingwood and Gordon Muchall failed to trouble the scorers. Michael Richardson made a quick 31 before being trapped by Sidebottom, and with Durham having collapsed to 81/5, it was left to Pringle and Scott Borthwick to guide their side away from the looming danger of following on before the day had even ended.
The two spinners managed to see Durham to the close on 140/5, although their partnership of 59 is just a small step towards the imposing target set by Yorkshire earlier in the day. With Borthwick and Pringle set to resume tomorrow morning on 35 and 34 respectively, their side are still 417 runs away from making the visitors bat again.