Graham Onions' second five-wicket haul of the season allowed Durham to take command in their LV= County Championship match against Middlesex at the Emirates Durham ICG.
It could have been much worse for the visitors, who recovered from 35 for five to make 196 before Durham stretched their lead of 63 by reaching 37 without loss in their second innings.
Frequent showers in the first half of the day saw 21 overs lost and a cold wind blowing down the ground meant it was tough work for those bowling into it. Callum Thorp did a miserly job in conceding only 29 in 17 overs, yet Ben Stokes struggled.
Bowling for the first time for two weeks following a back injury, he leaked runs at almost five an over but did pick up two wickets, including that of Neil Dexter for 52.
Dexter ensured the follow-on was avoided in a sixth-wicket stand of 68 with John Simpson and there was further frustration for Durham when James Harris and Toby Roland-Jones put on 45 for the ninth wicket.
Onions, who finished with 5-39, took both wickets to fall in the hour's play that was possible in the morning after Middlesex resumed on 11 for two.
Joe Denly was caught at second slip by Scott Borthwick and left-hander Dawid Malan fell lbw.
The resumption after lunch was delayed then in the third over Stokes hit nightwatchman Tom Smith on the boot to gain an lbw verdict.
When Stokes began to bowl too short Simpson punched two back-foot fours through the covers in an over which cost 13.
Onions had to be recalled and there was an element of fortune about the breakthrough as Simpson toe-ended a short ball to mid-off to depart for 42, made off 51 balls with eight fours.
Paul Collingwood then clung on at the second attempt to an edge from Gareth Berg to give Onions 5-26 at the time.
Those figures were slightly spoilt by Dexter taking three fours off an over and he reached his 98-ball half-century by cover-driving Stokes for his ninth four.
However, Stokes nipped one back to find an inside edge and have Dexter caught behind before Harris showed his batting prowess by making 37.
He finally hit a full toss from Scott Borthwick to midwicket and without addition Roland-Jones chipped Mark Wood to mid-on.
Durham had what looked likely to be a tricky 11 overs to bat in gloomy conditions, but Middlesex bowled too short to Mark Stoneman, who cut and pulled his way to 31, with Keaton Jennings surviving on six.