Warwickshire v Durham: Ton for Tim Ambrose puts Bears in control
|County Championship Division One, Edgbaston|
|Close, day three: Warwickshire 345 & 351-8dec v Durham 284 & 11-1|
|Warwickshire 6pts, Durham 5pts|
Tim Ambrose led the way with a century as county champions Warwickshire put themselves in line to beat Durham.
The former England wicketkeeper made 105, backed by Rikki Clarke (92), Jim Troughton (45) and Chris Woakes (38no), as the home side, 6-0 overnight, batted for most of the day at Edgbaston.
Having declared on 351-8, that left Durham with five overs to face.
And the Bears broke through when Chris Wright had Keaton Jennings leg before first ball, as Durham closed on 11-1.
With nine wickets in hand, the visitors still need a further 402 to win on the final day, when a home win would be the more probable outcome.
A match that looked evenly balanced with the champions on 64-4, leading by 125, went all one way as Ambrose hit his first hundred since revealing in September last year that a battle with depression had almost ended his career.
Losing his England place, despite scoring 76 not out against West Indies in his last appearance in February 2009, became a sparking point for his problems. And, in 2010, he reached a nadir when making only one fifty in 11 Championship matches.
But the darkness began to lift in 2011 and, by last summer, he was not only playing for the county champions elect, but enjoying his cricket, as he proved when scoring his first century for three years, an unbeaten 151 against Nottinghamshire as Warwickshire closed in on the title.
VIEW FROM THE COMMENTARY BOX
BBC WM's Mike Taylor:
"Whenever Warwickshire got into trouble last season, they always seemed to turn up a batsman in form to change the course of the match.
"It was a handy trait to have, and it continued here when Tim Ambrose walked out to bat with the Bears' second innings faltering at 64-4.
"He flicked his first ball to the midwicket boundary and timed the ball sweetly all the way to a hundred, sharing century stands with Jim Troughton and Rikki Clarke, and scoring quickly enough to set up a declaration before the close."
BBC Radio Newcastle's Martin Emmerson:
"This is certainly a very tough task for Durham but, if their nerve holds up, then they do have time on their side to try and get something on the final day.
"If they were to successfully chase their target of 413 it would be their second highest run chase.
"The last time they chased down more than 400 was away to Somerset. And although this wicket doesn't appear to have too many demons in it, it is not the notoriously flat track of Taunton either."