Notts still in charge despite slip

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Nottinghamshire crashed to a 210-run defeat against Durham but still hold a commanding lead at the top of the LV= County Championship with two games to play.

Nottinghamshire took six points from the match to lead Somerset by 22 points. Yorkshire, who go to Trent Bridge next week, are a further three adrift.

After being set an improbable victory target of 391 in 78 overs at the Emirates Durham ICG, on a pitch on which Durham added 82 in just over an hour in the morning, the visitors’ attempts to bat out the day were undermined by Ben Harmison taking three wickets in four balls. They were bowled out for 180 in just 54.1 overs.

With Mark Davies taking no further part after developing a sciatic nerve problem on the second day, Durham also lost Liam Plunkett, who limped off after bowling two overs with the new ball.

Ben Harmison

Ben Harmison's burst of three wickets in four balls did irreparable damage to Notts' attempts to bat out the rest of the day

Harmison was on for the fifth over of the innings and conceded 24 in four overs before lunch. There was a wide in his first over after the break, but with the score 51 for one he suddenly got it right in his seventh over.

Alex Hales pushed forward and edged to Michael Di Venuto at second slip and the next ball, perfectly pitched on off stump, bounced steeply. Australian Adam Voges, also pushing forward, edged it to wicketkeeper Phil Mustard.

The hat-trick ball was short and wide, allowing Samit Patel to collect two easy runs, but the next delivery pinned him lbw on the back foot.

A stand of 30 between Mark Wagh and Ali Brown was broken by Ian Blackwell, who trapped both lbw and later had Luke Fletcher caught at silly mid-off to finish with 3-23 in 19 overs.

Harmison finished with 4-70, his final victim being Chris Read, who drove well outside off stump and edged low to third slip, where substitute Gareth Breese held a good catch.

Andre Adams, attempting to slog almost every ball, skied a catch to mid-on off Mitch Claydon, and the only resistance came from Steven Mullaney.

He was last out for 64, skying a pull off Scott Borthwick for Mustard to take the catch 10 minutes before the start of the final hour.

Durham's fifth win of the season ended any relegation worries, but their hopes of a title hat-trick remain minuscule. Nottinghamshire need only five points from two games to deny them.

In the morning Blackwell had failed to add to his 50, edging Fletcher to Read, but Borthwick played beautifully for the second time in the match, scoring 43 in an unbroken stand of 79 with Mustard, who was on 51 when he declared with Durham 361 for six.

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