Fidel Edwards and Ryan McLaren each took three wickets as Hampshire put themselves in a strong position against Durham on day two at Chester-le-Street. Having built a first innings lead of 38, Hampshire’s attack dominated the early stages of Durham’s second innings with 13 wickets falling for the second successive day. The home side closed on 126-6, though it could have been worse had it not been for a resilient partnership between Paul Collingwood and Gordon Muchall.
Earlier, John Hastings took four wickets as Durham threatened to clean up the opposition tail, only for Edwards and Ryan Stevenson to earn Hampshire an unlikely second batting point.
Hampshire seemed happy to take their time after a short rain delay threatened to disrupt the morning session, and survived an hour in gloomy conditions before losing both batsmen in quick succession. Liam Dawson was first to go, caught behind down the legside off a Hastings delivery before Will Smith mistimed a hook shot to long leg minutes later.
Adam Wheater and Sean Ervine both made quick starts before the lunch break, and despite the former being trapped LBW for Graham Onions’ fourth wicket of the match, Hampshire reached their first batting point with relative ease. It was thanks in no small part to the partnership of Ervine and McLaren, who helped their side pass 200-6 before McLaren failed to dig out a yorker from Hastings.
Suddenly, it was Durham with the momentum. The visitors were eight down soon after when Hastings dismissed Gareth Berg to leave Hampshire 207-8, still six runs short of matching the hosts’ first innings total. Ervine, who survived a dropped catch on 31, saw his side take a first innings lead before falling three runs short of a half-century.
Still 31 runs away from the second batting point, it was left to Stevenson and Edwards to help Hampshire pass the 250 mark. Stevenson would go on to make 30, including five boundaries, before Chris Rushworth eventually found the breakthrough to leave Durham chasing a deficit of 38.
Having found form with the bat, McLaren and Edwards were soon troubling the Durham openers with the ball. Jack Burnham survived a thick edge, which eluded Dawson at second slip early on, but the Hampshire all-rounder made amends when Burnham edged again from McLaren. Opening partner Mark Stoneman was next to fall when he edged Edwards to gully to leave Durham 22-2.
The two bowlers were showing their international class, and Scott Borthwick and Michael Richardson didn’t offer much resistance. Borthwick attempted to drive McLaren but could only find Smith at gully, before Richardson was clean bowled by Edwards to leave Durham four down and just 18 runs ahead.
Those wickets brought the experienced pair of Collingwood and Muchall to the crease with Durham still some way short of posting a competitive target. The duo halted the momentum of the Hampshire attack, adding 42 runs before captain Collingwood was trapped LBW for McLaren’s third wicket. By the time Edwards took the wicket of Muchall for 32, Durham were effectively 77-6.
Ryan Pringle and James Weighell saw Durham to 126-6 before bad light stopped play, but with Hampshire still fighting for their lives in the LV County Championship, the home side will hope to significantly build on their lead of 88 if they are to end a run of five games without a win.