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Worcestershire claim a draw as batters rule at Durham

Durham and Worcestershire played out a draw on the final day of their LV= Insurance County Championship Division Two clash as 1,294 runs were scored and only 17 wickets fell over the course of the contest at Seat Unique Riverside.

The Pears began the day 431-6, still 211 behind the home side’s first innings total, and although Paul Coughlin made early inroads, a final-wicket stand from Gareth Roderick and Dillon Pennington of 69 saved the follow-on for the visitors.

Worcestershire were eventually dismissed for 550, handing the hosts a lead of 92 to take into their second innings. However, with little time remaining, the North-East outfit batted out the game with an unbeaten 102 stand between Rachin Ravindra and Michael Jones before the two sides shook hands on a draw.

The hosts claimed 14 points from their fifth stalemate of the campaign, while the Pears took 15, leaving Worcestershire once place above Durham in fourth in Division Two.

Worcestershire resumed with Ed Barnard and Roderick with work to do to avoid the follow-on. Barnard scored early boundaries to find his rhythm at the start of the day, forcing a change in approach from the home side. Coughlin banged in the ball in short and prised out Barnard for 128 by taking a sharp return catch diving to his right.

The right-armer earned his second wicket when Josh Baker fended a tame drive straight to Chris Rushworth at mid-on. Roderick was left in a desperate push to guide Worcestershire past the follow-on target of 493, but was running out of partners after Ben Gibbon was removed by Liam Trevaksis as Scott Borthwick took a good low catch at silly point.

Even though the visitors were down to the final wicket and Durham took the extra half-hour before lunch, Roderick and Pennington safely steered the Pears past the follow-on, defying the hosts with a stand of fifty from 88 balls.

The two reached a stand of 69 before Worcestershire’s mammoth 178.5 over innings came to an end with Jonathan Bushnell claiming his maiden first-class wicket as Pennington’s useful knock of 44 came to end, feathering an edge through to Ned Eckersley. The innings ended on a sour note for the hosts, who conceded a club-record 81 extras, beating the 78 against Warwickshire in 1994 in the infamous contest when Brian Lara notched his unbeaten 501.

With a lead of 92, Durham openers Jones and Ravindra were composed and untroubled at the crease to accumulate a fifty partnership. There was time for Jones to notch his second score of over fifty in the campaign, taking the opening stand beyond 100 in the process before the two sides called time on the game.

Worcestershire coach Alex Gidman said: “The way that Durham batted in the first innings made it hard for us to win the game.

“But I thought we showed a great amount of character, resilience and skill to get plenty of runs on the board ourselves. It was still very hard competitive cricket, I thought that both teams battled very well.”

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