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    Warwickshire versus Durham in the County Championship: Day Three
Warwickshire versus Durham in the County Championship: Day Three
Chris Rushworth. Source: Warwickshire CCC

Warwickshire versus Durham in the County Championship: Day Three

Warwickshire are looking for a victory as off-spinner Rob Yates led the Bears' attack with a career-best four for 137 on the final day of their Vitality County Championship fixture at Edgbaston.

Scott Borthwick's side was bowled out for 517, facing a mammoth target of 549 to avoid the follow-on. Alex Lees (145, 240 balls), Ben Raine (93, 125), Graham Clark (76, 179), Ollie Robinson (60, 91), and Matty Potts (44, 40) all made significant contributions, but Warwickshire's attack kept paring away.

Durham closed day three on 12 for two, trailing by 181 runs. To prevent Warwickshire's second-highest-ever total of 698 for three from resulting in a loss, Durham will need to bat out on day four.

This should be achievable on a pitch that has only yielded 15 wickets in three days. The two first innings combined featured 10 individual three-figure scores, four with the bat and six with the ball.

After Durham resumed on the third morning at 178 for three, the batsmen continued to display excellent control, with no indication that the pitch was deteriorating. Lees and Robinson extended their partnership to 99, with Lees achieving his 24th first-class century from 185 balls. Robinson hit a six over mid-wicket off Olly Hannon-Dalby to reach his half-century in 82 balls but was then caught at extra cover after mistiming a shot off Danny Briggs.

With Chris Rushworth receiving treatment for a calf niggle off the field, the new ball was handed to Will Rhodes, who soon bowled a delivery that nipped inside and hit off-stump as Alex Lees attempted a drive. Brydon Carse then carelessly spooned a catch to long leg off the bowling of Ed Barnard, leaving Durham at 331 for six, still 217 runs away from avoiding the follow-on. Matty Potts and Ben Raine steadied the innings with a partnership of 122 runs in 33 overs, taking valuable time out of the game.

Yates turned sharply past Clark's attempted paddle to leg, resulting in an lbw decision. Raine continued to thrive on familiar territory. Six years ago, as a Leicestershire player in a Blast fixture at Edgbaston, he smashed 113 runs, 108 of which came from fours and sixes. This time, he hit five sixes and eight fours but then left the door open for Warwickshire when he was bowled behind his legs by Yates.

This was Yates' first three-for in first-class cricket. Three balls later, he had taken four wickets after smartly catching a low return from Callum Parkinson. When Potts skied Dan Mousley to deep mid-wicket where Yates was positioned, Durham was still 32 runs short of the follow-on, so they had ten overs to bat in the second innings. 

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