Ian Blackwell hits ton before Durham take late wickets

LV County Championship Division One, Emirates Durham ICG
Close of play, day three: Durham 465, Warwickshire 429 and 52-4
Durham 7pts, Warwicks 6pts
Match scorecard
Live commentary

Ian Blackwell hit a century before Durham got on top against Warwickshire late on day three at the Riverside.

Blackwell hit 125, backed by Dale Benkenstein's 75, as Durham made 469 to earn a 36-run first-innings lead.

But leg-spinner Scott Borthwick then struck three late blows to have the Bears buckling on 52-4, just 16 ahead.

After Varun Chopra went cheaply, Borthwick removed Ian Westwood, Will Porterfield and star capture Mohammad Yousuf for a fourth ball duck.

After Blackwell earned Durham maximum batting points, a high-scoring stalemate was looking likely until Borthwick was brought on with eight overs left.

But, in his very first over, he struck with his second and fifth deliveries to earn LBW decisions against both Porterfield and Yousuf, who was trying to paddle around the corner.

Borthwick then struck again in his fourth over when Westwood was caught at short leg off bat and pad for 27.

Blackwell had earlier shown uncharacteristic restraint when Durham resumed on 230-5, needing a further 50 to avoid the follow-on.

He took 32 balls to add to his overnight five, while Benkenstein scored only 10 in the first hour.

But the shackles were removed by the introduction of 20-year-old student, Paul Best, making his Championship debut in place of fellow left-arm spinner Ant Botha who is out for four to six weeks with a knee injury,

Best did pick up two late wickets, but not before he had conceded 50 runs in eight overs.

Blackwell got underway with a driven four and swept six in the same over and runs continued to flow when the new ball was taken.

The stand was worth 161 when Benkenstein was bowled for 75 - his fifth half-century in seven innings.

Blackwell went on to hit 15 fours and two sixes in his 142-ball century, and he looked intent on turning it into a big one until he was run out in a mix-up with Callum Thorp.

CLOSE OF PLAY SUMMARY

BBC Radio Newcastle's Martin Emmerson:

"Durham's Dale Benkenstein and Ian Blackwell came to the rescue. Their sixth wicket patrtnership could prove the turning point if they can go on and grab victory on the final day.

"It was certainly tough for the two of them in the morning session, with only seven runs added in the first half hour, but they battled through the early pressure to nudge Durham toward's parity.

"Scott Borthwick then performed heroics with the ball to take 3-5 in three overs. But don't be surprised to see more twists and turns as an antidote to the festivities at Westminster Abbey."

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