Steady rain fell throughout day four at Emirates Durham ICG
STUMPS, DAY FOUR. Durham 568-8 v Middlesex 330 & 90-2. Match Drawn
Points - Durham 13, Middlesex 9.
Due to steady rainfall throughout the morning, day four of the match between Durham and Middlesex was abandoned at 1.30pm.
It means Durham have now drawn six of their opening seven LV= County Championship games of the season.
The team are next in action on Friday, when they take on the Birmingham Bears at Edgbaston in the NatWest T20 Blast (6.30pm start)
STUMPS, DAY THREE. Durham 568-8 declared v Middlesex 330 (Roland-Jones 63, Denly 59, Stirling 55. Wood 4-75) & 90-2. Middlesex trail Durham by 148 runs with 8 second innings wickets remaining.
Points - Durham 8, Middlesex 4.
Video Highlights - Click here
Durham will hope that the weather forecast is incorrect for day four as they hunt for a first victory of the season against Middlesex.
Having dismissed the visitors for 330 after tea, Paul Collingwood elected to enforce the follow-on and Chris Rushworth claimed the early wicket of Chris Rogers.
Dawid Malan and Sam Robson put on a stand of 71 for the second wicket to frustrate the hosts before a superb diving catch from Keaton Jennings helped to get rid of Malan before the close.
The weather picture for Wednesday is fairly bleak, but the hope remains that enough play will be possible to take the eight remaining wickets and secure a win.
Despite remaining in the ascendancy, this was generally quite a frustrating day for the bowlers, with Joe Denly and John Simpson batting well to survive the first hour.
Denly was perhaps fortunate to edge a Rushworth delivery just wide of third slip, but the former Kent man also hit some lovely shots on his way to an important half-century for his team.
A change of bowling at both ends failed to bring immediate dividends, but then Ben Stokes roared in from the Lumley End and bowled a full toss that surprised Simpson. The ball whistled past the right hander's bat and clattered into the stumps, with Stokes offering an apologetic hand to the Middlesex keeper.
On the stroke of lunch, John Hastings made a second breakthrough to give the players an extra spring in their step as they left the field. The muscular Australian caught the shoulder of Denly's bat and Michael Richardson clung on to his third catch of the innings, this time at gully.
Ben Stokes had a chance to make further inroads into the Middlesex middle order but unfortunately put down a catch at gully following an edge from Paul Stirling.
After claiming five wickets in Durham's innings, Toby Roland-Jones (63) further enhanced his credentials as an all-rounder by striking 10 boundaries in an impressive knock, as he and Stirling helped their side pick up a second batting point.
Double centurion Scott Borthwick was introduced to the attack just before the new ball was due and he got rid of Stirling (55), who was caught by Keaton Jennings at short leg.
With Tim Murtagh swinging hard at one end, and Roland-Jones counter-attacking against some short-pitched bowling from Wood at the other, frustrations began to mount.
Just as in the morning session though, Durham picked up a wicket before a break for food. Roland-Jones tried to force a shot off the back foot but the delivery from Wood caught an inside edge and smashed into the stumps.
Shortly after tea, Wood cleaned up Steven Finn with a beautiful yorker and after hitting Borthwick for six, Murtagh tried one big shot too many and was stumped for 42.
Tired after plenty of hard work, the bowlers returned to the field almost immediately as the follow-on was signalled.
Chris Rogers, who made just a single in the first innings, did so again before he was trapped LBW by the persistent Chris Rushworth.
Malan and Robson fought back, albeit with a few slices of luck along the way, as Malan top edged a hook shot from Wood that just evaded Rushworth on the fine leg fence.
The very next ball was banged in short again and Malan wasn't so fortunate this time as Jennings raced in from the leg side, and dived forward to take a wonderful catch.
STUMPS, DAY TWO. Durham 568-8 declared (Borthwick 216, Stoneman 187) v Middlesex 69-4. Middlesex trail Durham by 499 runs with six first innings wickets remaining at Emirates Durham ICG.
Video Highlights - Click here
Points - Durham 6, Middlesex 1.
Scott Borthwick scored a maiden double century as Middlesex were put to the sword again on day two.
After Borthwick (216) became the first Englishman to score 200 for the county at Emirates Durham ICG, the seam attack combined to dismiss the visitors' top four batsmen, to leave the league leaders in a perilous position.
Mark Wood (2-25) impressed, whilst John Hastings (1-20) bowled a testing debut spell that followed the unbeaten 38 he smashed with the bat during his new side's first innings.
The rain that had been forecast arrived shortly before 4pm, and although play briefly re-started an hour later, nearly 34 overs were lost on an otherwise perfect day for the hosts.
Resuming on 411-4, Durham quickly lost night-watchman Mark Wood when he pulled a short ball from Tim Murtagh straight to Joe Denly at midwicket.
Paul Collingwood looked in very good nick as he dispatched Steven Finn over the leg side fence for six to bring up the 450, and the Durham skipper helped to put on 74 for the sixth wicket before he top edged an aborted pull shot that looped to mid-on.
Understandable tension built up as Borthwick moved within a boundary of his double century. The left hander had to be sent back by his partner after setting off for a couple of dangerous singles, and it took him seven overs to get the two runs required to reach the landmark.
Finally, a thick edge from a Ravi Patel delivery went wide of first slip, allowing Borthwick to return for a second run. His teammates joined the crowd, which included proud members of his family, in standing up to applaud a magnificent innings as an elated Borthwick clenched his fist with delight.
Having resisted the temptation to declare, Durham batted on but lost Gordon Muchall cheaply before Borthwick top edged a pull shot to end a 305 ball stay at the crease.
After lunch, John Hastings clubbed six boundaries to provide some late impetus before Mustard's dismissal for 18 prompted a declaration.
Grey clouds had gathered overhead, so the home bowlers knew they had to try and make the most of the favourable conditions.
Pressure was exerted from both ends right from the first ball. Hastings was given the second over from the Finchale End and the big Australian roared in to bowl at a good pace.
Having said upon arriving on Saturday that he was hoping to get rid of his good friend Chris Rogers, Hastings found the inside edge of his fellow countryman's bat and the ball clattered into the stumps.
Middlesex somehow survived the onslaught from the opening pair of Hastings and Chris Rushworth, but Mark Wood came on and took two wickets in his first nine balls.
England hopeful Sam Robson was caught behind to become Wood's first victim, before Michael Richardson clung on to a difficult chance at third slip to get rid of Dawid Malan.
Richardson took an even better catch moments later as he dived low down to his right after an edge from Neil Dexter, with Ben Stokes picking up a deserved wicket.
Rain prevented the rampant hosts making further inroads, but the showers failed to dampen a memorable day for Scott Borthwick and his team.
STUMPS, DAY ONE. Durham 411-4 (Stoneman 187, Borthwick 164*) v Middlesex. Durham lead Middlesex by 411 runs with 6 first innings wickets remaining.
Points - Durham 5, Middlesex 1.
Video Highlights - Click Here
Mark Stoneman and Scott Borthwick put on a record partnership to place Durham firmly in the ascendancy on day one against league leaders Middlesex.
The pair amassed 274, which is the highest second wicket stand for Durham against any opposition in first class cricket.
Both batsmen batted superbly in the sunshine at Emirates Durham, as the sizeable home crowd enjoyed a feast of runs from the two left handers.
On a day when records tumbled, Borthwick and Stoneman each registered their highest individual scores for the county.
Whilst Stoneman beat the 131 he made against Yorkshire in May with a dominant innings on Sunday, Borthwick also went beyond the 135 from the match with Surrey last year.
All of this came after Middlesex captain Chris Rogers had won the toss under blue skies and elected to field first. By the end of the day, the Australian may have regretted his decision.
Stoneman had a couple of scares in the morning as he was dropped by Dawid Malan at first slip and nearly chopped a delivery from Steven Finn onto his stumps. But after taking 10 from Tim Murtagh's seventh over, he reached an entertaining half-century from just 47 balls.
Keaton Jennings was proving a useful foil at the other end until he offered an angled bat to a Toby Roland-Jones delivery. The ball deflected off an inside edge and hit the stumps, ending a first wicket partnership of 82.
Having missed the previous Championship game with injury, Borthwick took very little time to settle back in. With Stoneman continuing to score freely, Middlesex were struggling to fill the gaps as the two left-handers struck boundary after boundary.
After waiting anxiously on 91 during the lunch interval, Stoneman quickly knocked off the remaining nine runs to reach his second century of the campaign. A sweetly timed drive through the offside brought up three figures from just 105 balls.
There was little restbite for the visitors' attack as Borthwick pulled Roland-Jones away for a magnificent six, and the England International then drove Finn through cover point to bring up his half-century.
Dropped on 116 in the slips, Stoneman capitalised by hitting Murtagh for another boundary through backward point just two balls later.
Mindful that this was an opportunity to eclipse his previous best score, Stoneman batted in a more circumspect fashion thereafter but continued to punish the bad deliveries.
Borthwick meanwhile was playing with supreme confidence, and deservedly registered his century with a firm drive from a Paul Stirling delivery that beat the dive of mid-on. The Sunderland born star punched the air with delight before embracing his fellow centurion as the crowd applauded loudly.
An afternoon session that had contained plenty of runs and milestones but no wickets meant Middlesex's bowlers trooped off at tea looking understandably dejected.
Their torment only continued after the break as Stoneman brought up a maiden 150, before the batsmen shook hands to acknowledge their record partnership.
With the pace attack proving expensive, Rogers turned to spin to try and find a breakthrough. Stirling was particularly unlucky, as he had a couple of chances put down before eventually getting Stoneman to nudge forward and pop up a catch to Sam Robson at leg slip.
Having waited for over five hours, Michael Richardson finally came into bat and was very nearly trapped LBW before he got off the mark. Tim Murtagh had taken the second new ball and thought he had Richardson trapped in front, but Tim Robinson shook his head.
Unfortunately, Richardson didn't last much longer as he was run out following a mix-up with Borthwick. Rogers threw the ball to wicketkeeper John Simpson after the South African had pushed the ball into the covers and set off for a single. Richardson tried to dash back but couldn't make his ground.
Despite that disappointment, Borthwick went on to reach a maiden 150 with a masterful pull to the fence from a short Roland-Jones delivery.
Ben Stokes brought up the 400 with a thick edge that ran along the ground to the third man boundary, as Durham registered maximum batting points for the first time this season.
Stokes was bowled by Finn before the close as he tried to a pull a ball that kept a little low.
The Middlesex celebrations were muted though, after a wonderful day for Durham.