Stoneman leaves Durham scenting another win

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Nottinghamshire will need to chase down a daunting target on the final day if they are to beat Durham and maintain the pressure on LV= County Championship Division One leaders Warwickshire.

Opener Mark Stoneman was the star, hitting his first century of the season as the visitors closed on 301 for seven, 341 ahead, to raise hopes of a third straight win that would go a long way to ending their own fears of relegation.

Stoneman made 114 from 147 balls, with 14 fours and a six, while skipper Paul Collingwood was unbeaten on 51 at the close.

Seamer Luke Fletcher carried the most threat for Notts, finishing with 3-47, and it will need a Herculean effort from the hosts to claim victory from their current position.

Mark Stoneman

Mark Stoneman struck an impressive century as Durham closed on a third LV=CC Division One victory in succession against Nottinghamshire

Durham began the day on 27 without loss, leading by 67, with Notts requiring early wickets to reclaim the momentum.
Early-morning rain and cloudy skies seemed to offer friendly conditions for their seam attack, but Stoneman and opening partner Will Smith were watchful and survived the first 45 minutes of play, before the latter edged a defensive shot off Fletcher to Chris Read.
Stoneman was quick to seize on any poor deliveries throughout his innings and, with Keaton Jennings digging in, ensured the visitors reached lunch without further loss.
While Jennings fell in the third over after lunch, lbw to Ben Phillips for a patient 31, Stoneman continued to judge the line and length well and drove spinner Graeme White through the covers for four to register the third hundred of his career.
His innings ended in a flurry; he was dropped by Alex Hales and Paul Franks - the latter spilling the ball over the ropes for six - in the space of three deliveries before he went lbw to a Phillips ball that kept low.

Phil Mustard made 21 before he gloved a short delivery from Andy Carter to wicketkeeper Read, at which point a shower stopped play for more than an hour, leading to an extended evening session.
With the ball getting softer, Collingwood batted with increasing comfort to take the lead past 300, despite losing Dale Benkenstein and Scott Borthwick, who were caught at gully and bowled respectively.

But with young all-rounder Mark Wood looking confident, the pair put on 61 for the seventh wicket and survived 14 overs of the new ball before the latter was caught behind off Fletcher for 30 just before the close.

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