Paul Collingwood led from the front as Durham restricted Gloucestershire to 266 for seven before bad light ended play 19 overs early, on the opening day of the Specsavers County Championship match at Bristol.
After the hosts had reached 97 for one, Collingwood, approaching his 41st birthday next month, transformed the morning session by taking two wickets with his medium pace, before he claimed three slip catches. Chris Rushworth and Keaton Jennings weighed in with two wickets apiece.
Despite Collingwood leading from the front Durham pace bowler Graham Onions believed the visitors were under par today: "We're a bit disappointed. We were under par with the ball and it would have been nice to be batting by the end of the day.
"The first session was our worst. Sometimes when you put the opposition in it puts a bit of pressure on the bowlers, but we can't use that as an excuse.
"We just didn't put the ball in the right areas for long enough periods. It swung a bit today and if you put it in the right place there was some movement off the pitch."
Chris Dent (59), Will Tavare (61), Phil Mustard (38) and Jack Taylor (41 not out) all batted well for Gloucestershire, who could feel satisfied with their efforts after Collingwood exercised his right to field first without a toss.
The day began with overcast conditions and the home side looked to be facing a stiff test when Cameron Bancroft, who never looked comfortable, was bowled by a delivery from Rushworth that appeared to keep a low.
Soon the sun broke through and batting became more straightforward. Dent and Tavare put together a second-wicket stand of 83 with few alarms and Gloucestershire looked set.
But Collingwood had other ideas. Having had Dent dropped twice in his second over, the former England all-rounder forced the left-hander to feather a catch through to wicketkeeper Stuart Poynton. Dent had faced 85 balls and hit 9 fours.
In the same over Collingwood pinned Graeme van Buuren lbw for a duck and, without making the best use of the new ball, Durham had their opponents 97 for three at the break.
The afternoon session began well for Gloucestershire, with Tavare and George Hankins taking the total to 156 before 20-year-old Hankins, who had progressed to 27, hung his bat out to a shortish delivery from Brydon Carse and edged to Collingwood at first slip.
Tavare, who has begun the season in fine form, moved to his half-century off 121 balls, with 5 fours, and was doing an excellent job anchoring the innings until, with the total on 187, he was caught behind, rocking back to try and leave a ball from Rushworth.
Mustard looked in good nick against his old county and produced some fine strokes. It was a surprise when he pushed forward to Jennings and edged a simple catch to Collingwood, having struck seven boundaries.
That was the final ball of Jennings’ third over. He was on a hat-trick when with the first delivery of his fourth he induced another edge to Collingwood, this time to dismiss Craig Miles for a duck.
At 255 for seven in the 75th over, Gloucestershire were in danger of failing to capitalise on a solid base. Only two more overs were possible before the umpires decided conditions had become too murky.
Taylor was unbeaten, having shared a stand of 64 with Mustard, playing with a typical flourish. He will shoulder responsibility for adding to his side’s two batting points on Saturday.
Gloucestershire batsman Chris Dent said: "It's probably pretty much honours even. Durham have a very good bowling attack and it was always going to be tough batting first.
"We expected to be in that position, but we did well against Graham Onions and Chris Rushworth early on. Another partnership will put us in a good position and hopefully we can kick on tomorrow."