Nottinghamshire put up a more spirited batting performance on the second day of their LV= county championship match against Durham at Chester-le-Street but ended it with the home side still on course for victory.
After bowling out Notts for 246 in their second innings, the home county were left to score just 69 to become county champions for the third time in three seasons. In the one over available before stumps, they scored seven without loss.
Earlier, Durham had been dismissed in their first innings for 256, with Andre Adams ending with figures of four for 69 and Steven Mullaney three for 22.
“If you look at the scores here and look at why Durham are going to win the title it is because they play on wickets that suit their seam bowlers. That’s exactly what has happened and fair play to them.” Mick Newell
Mick Newell, Nottinghamshire's director of cricket, felt his side hadn’t done enough to be in with a chance of a positive result. “We felt we had to make 350 to set Durham a challenging score and we haven’t been able to do that.”
Mullaney followed his season-best bowling figures with another disciplined knock at the top of the order, in reaching 72. Newell admitted his form had been a bonus.
“I think he’s done well, he took on the challenge of opening and wanted to do it. He’s done really well for us in the second half of the season.”
After 18 wickets fell on the first day, another 12 went down on Day Two. “This is a typical Durham wicket,” said Newell, “If you look at the scores here and look at why Durham are going to win the title it is because they play on wickets that suit their seam bowlers. That’s exactly what has happened and fair play to them.”
Durham began the day holding an overall advantage of 129, with two first innings wickets still remaining.
Paul Collingwood, 53 not out overnight, monopolised the strike in a stand of 32 with Jamie Harrison that was eventually broken by Mullaney.
Into the attack, after an initial unsuccessful burst from Adams and Harry Gurney, Mullaney claimed his third scalp of the innings as umpire Neil Mallender upheld an lbw appeal to send back Harrison (8).
A game of cat and mouse then ensued, with Collingwood determined to keep the strike and Notts equally determined to bowl to last man Chris Rushworth. The Durham number eleven found himself facing the second new ball and guided a boundary to third man to secure a second batting point for his side.
Luke Fletcher, on his 25th birthday, ended the innings by having Rushworth (6) taken at third slip by Samit Patel, leaving Collingwood undefeated on 88.
Beginning their second innings 178 behind, Notts’ opening pair survived for 7.4 overs before Riki Wessels (11) nicked Rushworth to Michael Richardson at third slip.
Mullaney and Michael Lumb ensured there would be no further alarms before lunch, reaching it on 41-1, a deficit of 137.
The hour after lunch belonged to the two Nottinghamshire batsmen, extending their stand to 55 before Lumb (28) was adjudged to be lbw against Onions.
James Taylor guided his first delivery away for four, shortly before Mullaney brought up his own half century (125 balls 7x4) with a clip through midwicket for three off Rushworth.
Ben Stokes limped off the field midway through the 42nd over of the innings, with Collingwood taking over to complete it.
Rushworth, always dangerous, removed Taylor (12) with a brute of a delivery that knocked back his off peg and the same bowler should then have had Mullaney, but Scott Borthwick spilled the chance at slip.
The sixth delivery after tea saw the end of Mullaney’s fine innings, lbw to Onions for 72 and taking his average to exactly 47 since switching to the opening berth.
Five balls later Durham were celebrating again as Samit Patel (4) drove at Harrison and the outside edge was this time taken by a jubilant Borthwick.
Chris Read (0) may have been unlucky, given out caught behind off Onions but David Hussey and Paul Franks then combined with a stand of 59 to take Notts into an overall advantage.
Franks (29) was eventually undone by the introduction of spin, as Borthwick turned one through his defences
Adams (0) ballooned one up on the off side to Keaton Jennings at deep extra cover, as Stokes returned to the attack.
Luke Fletcher (20) batted positively, hitting Stokes for three boundaries in an over before drilling the same bowler to mid off.
Hussey (59) dragged on, shortly after reaching his half century (63 balls, 6x4), leaving Durham to score 69 for the title.
Keaton Jennings and Mark Stoneman only had one over in which to begin the Durham chase.