Mark Ealham made amends for a soft dropped catch with two late wickets as Durham recovered from 63-3 to close on 257-5.

Durham captain Will Smith shared a 193 run stand with Dale Benkenstein for the fourth wicket to get his side back on track but both fell late on after prospering on a flat wicket at Trent Bridge.

Ealham’s drop off Shreck’s bowling with Benkenstein on 73 was the only chance presented to the Nottinghamshire field but the veteran all-rounder finally bowled Benkenstein for 105 and had Smith caught behind for 87 with the final ball of the day.

“We don’t like catches going down and as long as Benkenstein and Smith were together it was going to be difficult for us to get hold of the game,“ said Notts Director of Cricket Mick Newell.

“The late wickets have left us with a chance to earn maximum bowling points and that’s our first target.”

Notts had the best of the morning session with Michael Di Venuto first to go, falling lbw to Ryan Sidebottom, before Andre Adams held on to a return catch at pace to dismiss Mark Stoneman.

Gordon Muchall was caught behind by Chris Read off Adams as Durham slumped to 63-3 before Smith and Benkenstein sparked their revival.

Durham could benefit from the presence of Steve Harmison if he is not selected to face Australia when the Second npower Ashes Test begins at Lord’s tomorrow.

“Harmison is the most likely player to join the game but it’s not a lively wicket so he’ll have to work hard like everyone else to try and get something from it,” said Newell.

“Looking back at previous games at Trent Bridge this season, the first day has been the best to bowl on which is why we looked to exploit that when we won the toss today. Wickets haven’t deteriorated and the scoring rate we restricted Durham to today suggests that we bowled well.”

Claydon and Blackwell will resume for Durham on day two.