Onions makes it Durham's day
Graham Onions took his tally of wickets in the match to seven and also contributed valuable runs with the bat as Durham aimed to crank up the pressure on Middlesex at Lord’s.
With much of the opening two days having been wiped out by rain, a draw still appears the most likely result in this LV= County Championship Division One encounter.
However, by completing first-innings figures of 6-45 and then bowling Andrew Strauss for a second time, Onions ensured Durham held the advantage.
At stumps on day three, Middlesex trailed by 29 on 21 for one, Onions having also struck five fours in a 10th-wicket stand of 44 with Scott Borthwick that gave the visitors a healthy first-innings lead of 50.
Strauss was the man to fall late in the day, England’s Test captain following up a first-innings duck with another low score. The left-hander would have bagged a pair had Callum Thorp clung on to a sharp chance in the gully off Onions.
Durham failed to capitalise fully on the surprisingly good weather today as they slipped from 142 for three to 194 for nine in their first innings before recovering through their last pair.
Ben Stokes initially appeared in fine touch en route to 45, but had become a little careless by the time he edged Steven Finn to Strauss at first slip.
Onions had done much of the damage this morning as Middlesex were dismissed for 188, but it was Stokes who struck first with his third ball after the hosts had resumed on 138 for five.
Neil Dexter drove wide of off stump and edged to second slip to depart without adding to his overnight 65.
Gareth Berg edged Thorp to second slip and Onions did the rest, passing 300 first-class wickets in the process.
Tim Murtagh helped wicketkeeper John Simpson put on 27 before edging to Phil Mustard, and Toby Roland-Jones made 17 before a miscued pull lodged in the hands of Ian Blackwell at mid-on.
Finally, Finn pushed tamely forward and edged to Paul Collingwood at first slip.
Michael Di Venuto hit Finn for three fours in his first four balls as Durham’s opening pair put on 59.
Finn suddenly produced a beauty to beat Di Venuto’s forward push and take out off stump and, in the next over, Will Smith fell for 29 when he edged Tim Murtagh to second slip.
After Stokes, Borthwick was Durham’s top scorer with an unbeaten 33.