Northants up against it as Durham take total control at the County Ground
Matty Potts and Liam Trevaskis both collected half-centuries during a record-breaking ninth-wicket partnership as Durham gained complete control against a toiling Northants at Wantage Road.
Tailenders Potts and Trevaskis added 149 for the penultimate wicket – a Durham record against Northants and one shy of the outright best against any county.
For both the 22-year-olds it meant their highest first-class scores – Potts scored 81 while Trevaskis was left unbeaten on 77.
Their contributions, coupled with Scott Borthwick’s 73 and 40s for Graham Clark and Coughlin, gave Durham a 217 run first-innings lead, which the County knocked down to 207 during a nervy four-over spell under the floodlights.
“It looked tough at times," admitted Northants bowling coach Chris Liddle. "The pace went out of the wicket and I thought the lads grafted hard - 130 overs in the field is never easy.
“We managed to keep them at about 2.5 runs per over which was pretty good going, although they got away from us a bit at the end.
"We ran out of steam and looked like we had played a lot of cricket this season.
“Those two lads (Potts and Trevaskis) didn’t look like your standard No.9 and 10 batsmen, and it is always going to be a tough task to take 10 wickets, especially with the improvements in tail-end batsmen.
“We’ve got to bat long tomorrow and someone has to put up their hand and get a big score and secure the game for us.”
During a slow-paced morning, Clark earned two lives in successive deliveries off Jack White when on 23, as Ricardo Vasconcelos at first slip and then Simon Kerrigan at third slip spilt regulation chances.
Tight bowling was rewarded soon after, however, when Kerrigan managed to land the ball in the footmarks to generate significant turn to bowl Borthwick – who departed for 73 following a 93-run stand with Clark.
Clark had been unspectacular on a pitch that largely required hard graft to score, with only two offside boundaries, before he was bowled around his legs for 42 when attempting to paddle sweep Kerrigan.
Durham claimed their lead shortly before lunch as Coughlin and Raine bedded in using the time-honoured tactic of waiting for bad balls – typified with 44 of their shared 80 runs coming as a result of boundaries.
They fell in fairly quick succession against a newish second ball; Coughlin nicked to first slip two shy of a half-century, where Vasconcelos held on, and Raine was bowled on the angle by Ben Sanderson, who ended with four for 41 from 24 miserly overs.
After tea, Potts and Trevaskis showed intensity, with regular quick singles upping the scoring rate before Potts twice lifted over deep midwicket and into the gardens of the Wellingborough Road houses.
Trevaskis moved to the fourth half-century in 21 first-class innings in 74 balls before moving past his previous high of 64.
Potts also reached the milestone, with a flick off his legs to the boundary, in 103 deliveries, while making a mockery of his previous high of 53 with another six – this time straight back down the ground.
He was castled by Sanderson to end the epic stand – which was comfortably better than the 87 Dean Jones and Simon Hughes had amassed in 1992 – before Chris Rushworth chipped to mid-on as the away side were bowled out for 400.
A delighted Potts said: "It is nice to be doing the interviews as it proves I am doing something well.
"It is nice to put the team in a good position and setting up a chance to potentially win this game.
“It is disappointing we didn’t get the Durham record. We were trying to go one ball at a time and get through.
“We always talk about contributions all the way down so it was nice to get in and put on that stand with Liam – he played really well.
“It is attritional cricket on a wicket that when you bowl well it is hard to score on. I thought we hung in and kept the good balls out and scored off the bad ones.
“It is a massive lead and an awful position for them to be in trying to defend the game.”