Luke Procter starred with bat and ball as Northamptonshire moved to the cusp of victory on Day 3.
Northamptonshire resumed on 235 for 6 with Luke Procter having proved a thorn in the Durham side with 41 not out the night before. He passed fifty with wickets falling around him before an onslaught ensued when Ben Sanderson came to the crease, the number 11 offering some stability with the lead at 350. The pair put on 51 from 57 balls for the final wicket, the highlight being two huge sixes over mid wicket and long on from Procter as he carried his bat with 86, Sanderson falling leg before. Northamptonshire bowled out for 315 setting Durham 402 to win with well over five sessions to play with.
Brett Hutton delivered just what Adam Rossington would have had asked of him dismissing two of the Durham top order on the cusp of the lunch interval, uprooting Lees’ off stump with a ball that hooped back before finding the edge from Angus Robson into the gleeful hands of his skipper. The hosts tottering at 18 for 2 at lunch.
Wickets were harder to come by in the afternoon session with Durham putting on a 66-run stand for the fourth wicket before Kiwi batsman BJ Watling too saw his off stump go cartwheeling, this time courtesy of Luke Procter. Ben Sanderson continued the procession after a change of ends to dismiss Scott Steel bowled for the second successive innings reducing the visitors to 96 for 5. Rossington took a screamer diving to his right to send back Jack Burnham for 45 as tea was called with Northamptonshire needing four more wickets to claim victory.
Skipper Ned Eckersley and Brydon Carse persevered for the eighth wicket before the latter departed thanks to a sharp catch from Levi at third slip off the bowling of Bracewell. Determined batting continued though, seeing Durham walk off 212 for 8 after the umpires extended play by 6 overs to try and force a result.
Northamptonshire will return on Day 4 with a new ball in hand and 2 wickets remaining to claim victory.
Northamptonshire 217 (Rossington 82, Curran 36) & 315 (Procter 86*, Levi 60)
Durham 131 (Sanderson 6/54, Berg 2/17) & 212/8 (Hutton 4/54, Procter 2/37)