The agony of Luke Fletcher being run out for 92 could not detract from a dominant performance by Nottinghamshire on the second day of their Specsavers County Championship match against Durham.
The nightwatchman's eighth-wicket stand of 108 with James Pattinson helped to take the visitors to 305, a lead of 143, and in a 47-over final session Durham recovered from 24 for three to close on 162 for five.
Keaton Jennings remained unbeaten on 62 after a stand of 71 with Paul Collingwood was ended by a sensational catch at first slip by Riki Wessels. He leapt to cling on left-handed high above his head as a fired-up Pattinson had his reward after being convinced he had Collingwood lbw in his previous over.
"Yes"— County Championship (@CountyChamp) April 15, 2017
A great knock cruelly ended 8️⃣ runs short of a first Champ 💯 pic.twitter.com/i2DczUCnmZ
Pattinson returned to administer another short, sharp shock before the close and this time his lbw appeal was upheld to end Paul Coughlin's breezy knock of 36.
Fletcher never looked like getting out as he equalled the career-best score he made away to Hampshire in 2009. He manoeuvred his stocky frame solidly into line to block the good balls, evaded the short ones intended to unsettle him, and drove with an authority which belied his first-class average of 14.46.
“To get to 92 was brilliant and it put us in a strong position. But I was gutted to get out the way I did. I felt really comfortable all day and just wanted to be patient once I got to 90 and started to think about a century," said Fletcher.
“The ball looked like it was going past gully, but Keaton Jennings made a good stop. I think there was a run if we had both gone straightaway.”
On three overnight, he completed his fourth first-class 50 just before lunch, then resisted a lengthy spell from Mark Wood. When Durham briefly turned to Ryan Pringle's off breaks, Fletcher lofted him for a straight four then swept his 13th boundary to reach 90.
He added two singles before his 153-ball innings cruelly ended after he slipped when trying to turn back from halfway down the pitch. Had he not also dropped his bat he would have regained his ground at the non-striker's end.
Pattinson had played the ball to deep gully and took a stride forward before changing his mind with Fletcher well on his way as Jennings fielded the ball.
Wood, who bowled for most of the afternoon, had previously gone closest to breaking the partnership when Pringle was unable to hang on to a sharp chance at second slip with Pattinson on 23. The Australian went on to make 59 before skying an attempted hook off a Graham Onions bouncer when the new ball was taken. Harry Gurney was bowled by Chris Rushworth, who finished with four for 54.
With tea taken between innings, the extra allocation to make up for the first day's loss of overs left a marathon final session.
Jake Ball struck in the first and third overs. South African Stephen Cook went for nought when he edged to first slip then a ball which climbed off a length had Jack Burnham caught behind.
When Michael Richardson shuffled into a Fletcher in-swinger a two-day finish looked likely. But Jennings proved as immoveable as he did for most of last season.