George Hill impressed with 4-43 to help Yorkshire gain a slender advantage at the halfway stage of their ongoing LV= Insurance County Championship match against Durham at the Seat Unique Riverside.
Hill’s seamers came to the fore during the afternoon session as Division Two leaders Durham were bowled out for 224 in their first-innings reply to 254.
On a slate grey day in the North East, which saw the floodlights in operation throughout, Yorkshire then built on their lead of 27 to close on 91-3 from 33.5 overs, a lead of 118. Bad light ended play 10.1 overs early.
Their evening progression with the bat was not without alarm, however, with Yorkshire having slipped to 41-3 before Jonny Bairstow and Dawid Malan took the sting out of the situation.
Hill was excellent in his 15 overs, returning the second best haul of his senior career.
Having claimed his first wicket late on day one, he claimed three more midway through the afternoon in as many overs from the Finchale End of the ground as Durham slipped to 173-9.
Jordan Thompson set Yorkshire on their way to claiming a first-innings lead, one which could easily have been bigger than it was.
He struck first when he trapped nightwatchman Matty Potts lbw and later got David Bedingham the same way. Sandwiched in between, Scott Borthwick (35) edged Matthew Fisher to second slip, where Adam Lyth took a fine low catch. Durham had fallen to 71-5 inside 22 overs under the Riverside floodlights.
The first of two frustrating half-century partnerships came when wicketkeeper-batter Ollie Robinson shared 61 for the sixth wicket with Graham Clark either side of lunch.
Robinson has a superb career record against Yorkshire, reaching 50 seven times in 14 innings across all formats. And he looked set to make it eight, cutting and driving through the off-side with confidence.
Thankfully, after lunch, Robinson cue-ended behind to Jonny Bairstow off Matthew Revis – 132-6 in the 38th over.
Then, Hill came to the fore to put Yorkshire into an excellent position as Durham fell to 173-9 in the 55th.
He had Clark caught at slip in the 51st over for 33 before trapping Brydon Carse lbw and bowling Ben Raine, uprooting the all-rounder’s middle and leg stumps.
However, 10th-wicket pair Ajaz Patel, the New Zealand overseas spinner, and Netherlands all-rounder Bas de Leede – both men on debut for Durham – united to share 54 and write their names into the record books.
On the way to Durham’s highest last-wicket stand in matches between these two counties, de Leede was more conventional on the way to an unbeaten 22, while Patel wielded away and rode his luck on the way to 34.
He top-edged a pull, for example, over the slips for four and also had a flashed edge parried above his head by Lyth in the slips. But the innings was wrapped up when Fisher bowled him in the 65th over to signal tea.
On day one, this pitch showed signs of uneven bounce. Both Masood and Saud Shakeel were both hit on the helmet by bouncers.
The latter was this morning forced out of the game with concussion as a result of the blow, with Fin Bean coming into the match as substitute and able to bat in his place.
And the left-hander was into the action almost immediately at the start of Yorkshire’s second innings after tea as Lyth edged Raine into the slips off the first ball of the innings. Alex Lees parried at third slip and Bedingham held on at second, confirming only the second pair of Lyth’s illustrious career.
Captain Shan Masood, on 10, then seemed to feather an in-swinger from Potts onto his stumps as Yorkshire fell to 18-2 in the 10th over, leading by 45.
Almost six overs later, Bean followed when he edged Carse behind for 22 – 41-3.
From there, Malan and Bairstow calmly put the game back in Yorkshire’s favour.
There was very little aggression, but this isn’t the pitch for it. Timing has been an issue for all batters, and the fact that no one has yet managed to score a half-century in the fixture indicates that these are conditions favouring the bowlers.
The pair shared 50 inside 19 overs, and Malan will begin day three on 33 and Bairstow 16.