Essex try to draw positives as Durham dig in

PUBLISHED: 17:38 04 April 2017

Ravi Bopara said he is proud to fly the flag for the scheme . PICTURE: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo

Ravi Bopara said he is proud to fly the flag for the scheme . PICTURE: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo

©TGS Photo +44 1376 553468

Durham MCCU (187 & 124-2) drew with Essex (333 & 356-5 dec)

Jason Marshall led the resistance as Durham students asked questions of an Essex attack that will be looking to bowl out Division One teams twice in a match when the Specsavers County Championship season starts on Friday.

Ryan ten Doeschate rotated his seven-man bowling attack to no avail as Durham frustrated Essex through two sessions of the third and final day of the warm-up game.

The two captains finally shook hands on the draw at eight minutes past five, two overs into the final hour, with Essex still needing eight wickets and Durham 379 runs short of their 503 target.

By then, Marshall and Ed Pollock had eked out an unbeaten 77 for the third wicket with Marshall collecting 41.

Only Matt Dixon, who looked particularly lively after missing much of last season with injury, gained any reward, his brace coming inside two overs midway through the afternoon.

Despite just missing the outside edge on numerous occasions, Jamie Porter and Aaron Beard in particular struggled to find a way through.

Durham’s opening pair, Will Fraine and Jack Clark, set the tone by digging in tenaciously from the start. At one point they went 19 balls without scoring before Clark scampered a single. Their cause, though, was helped when Varun Chopra put down Fraine at first slip.

Dixon struck in the 19th over when Nick Browne took a chest-high catch at third slip to remove Fraine. Clark went in Dixon’s next over, caught by substitute Callum Taylor at cover.

The highlight of a dour 30-over afternoon session, in which the students crept to 67 for two, came when Jason Marshall gave himself room to pull Porter for six over mid-wicket.

Before play started, Nick Browne retired out on 113 to allow other batsmen time at the crease and Ravi Bopara joined Dan Lawrence to add 44 in nearly an hour. Lawrence (43) chipped Abhiraj Singh down Joe Cooke’s throat at deep mid-off, before Bopara and ten Doeschate upped the tempo ahead of a lunch-time declaration.

Bopara reached his half-century from 67 balls and celebrated by hitting Singh out of the attack with a six over mid-on.

Ten Doeschate then hammered Darrel Williams’s first ball for six to cow corner during an over in which he moved from eight to 26.

After lifting Williams for a second six, Bopara fell two balls later as he went for another, slightly straighter this time, and holed out to Cooke for 75.

The fifth-wicket stand with ten Doeschate (47 not out) was worth 95 in 14.1 overs and the most enterprising part of an ultimately disappointing day.

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