Nottinghamshire v Durham, day three:
Durham 294 (Harte 72, Chappell 4-92, Carter 3-43) and 131-2 (Dickson 56, Patel 1-10), Nottinghamshire 422 (Duckett 150, Clarke 133, Rushworth 7-108)
Durham lead by three runs with eight wickets remaining.
Four-day cricket is a varied beast.
From somnambulant stalemates to days where a wicket seems almost inevitable at all times, every match, every day offers a wealth of possibilities.
Day three of Nottinghamshire v Durham proved to be one for the run-scorers; 171 runs came at a touch over four an over for the hosts, before the visitors accumulated at a steadier pace in the afternoon.
The Nottinghamshire wickets which fell came only as the Green and Golds sought to secure a significant first-innings lead.
But even as the scoreboard ticked over, there was variety to be found in proceedings.
The assured leg-glance of Ben Duckett as he reached his eighth First-Class score of 150 or more.
The economy of movement in a Joe Clarke straight drive, bat-maker’s name proudly perpendicular to the Pavilion.
Or the whip and wristiness of Steven Mullaney and Tom Moores as Notts looked to crunch through the gears.
The latter half of the Notts innings was a trip through the batsman’s sketchbook – with Clarke as pilot-in-chief.
After Duckett departed soon after reaching 150, it was left to his partner to maintain the momentum.
A caressed cut through point off Brydon Carse was the sign of a man determined to cash in on the previous day’s work.
A sprinted three to reach his century showed Clarke’s unquenchable thirst for runs – a trait which has seen him convert over half of his fifties into three-figure scores.
At the other end, meanwhile, was a skipper batting with vim and vigour.
From a swashbuckling swipe past point to a one-handed straight drive that teased the fielders all the way to the fence, Mullaney was in the mood to up the tempo.
The pair’s fifty partnership came from 59 deliveries, before the captain’s off-stump was uprooted by Rushworth.
Clarke would find one more willing accomplice in Tom Moores, mixing flamboyant punches to the fence with the occasional delicate dab to third man as another half-century stand was compiled – this time from 57 balls.
The duo took Notts to maximum batting bonus points, with a first-innings lead of 128 ultimately secured.
In reply, Zak Chappell and Peter Trego kept the visitors on a tight leash – but neither they, Jake Ball nor Samit Patel could prise either Alex Lees or Sean Dickson from their perch before tea.
Little over twenty minutes after refreshments, however, Trego trapped Lees – and unleashed a bestial roar that left nobody in any doubt as to his commitment.
The remainder of the evening was one of toil for the hosts, with Matthew Carter and Steven Mullaney adding economical overs to the mix.
Lees, Dickson and Michael Jones had all steadied the ship for Durham, until Dickson had his off-stump pegged back by an exquisite Samit Patel delivery.
But the beauty of the four-day game is that each new morning offers a chance to start afresh.
With one more day of First-Class cricket to come for Notts, it would be foolish to discount any more twists in the tale.
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