Durham v Middlesex: Rain curtails third day at Chester-le-Street
|County Championship Division One, Chester-le-Street|
|Close, day three: Durham 259 & 89-1, Middlesex 196|
|Durham 5pts, Middlesex 3pts|
Play between Durham and Middlesex was limited to just 18 overs on a badly rain-interrupted third day.
The game did not resume until after tea when, with Durham on 37-0, Middlesex bowled four overs before more rain.
After a 45-minute delay, Durham reached 89-1, stretching their lead to 152.
Mark Stoneman was the only casualty, in somewhat bizarre circumstances just a ball after reaching 50, his 20th first-class half-century, when he was given out leg before by umpire George Sharp.
Middlesex paceman James Harris pulled out of his appeal before it had really begun.
But, when Stoneman ran to the bowler's end, he discovered that he had been given out.
VIEW FROM THE DRESSING ROOM
Durham opener Mark Stoneman told BBC Radio Newcastle:
"I did not get any bat out on it, and thought that it was going down the leg side.
"But, with those 50/50 decisions, sometimes you get them, sometimes you don't. You just have to get on with it.
"If we can get enough on the board in enough time, then hopefully we can still force a positive result."
VIEW FROM THE COMMENTARY BOX
BBC London 94.9's Kevin Hand:
"Despite the loss of the vast majority of the third day, an exciting finish may still be provided, with all results possible.
"Time is now against Durham as they will have to push on with the bat if they are to find enough runs to defend before attempting to bowl out Middlesex.
"The lead stands at 152 and the hosts are likely to want to double that before considering a declaration. The visitors will equally want to keep the run rate down in the morning session in the hope that they may be offered a chance of victory in the final innings.
"Although a little slow, the pitch holds no demons but Middlesex must banish the memory of last year's collapse to 102 all out here, as they failed to chase down 118 to win."