There's a massive day in prospect tomorrow, one that may define the eventual location of our 2014 championship cricket.
At 82-2 chasing 298, Durham could get away tomorrow morning. Conversely, early wickets could put them under pressure and we could establish a first innings lead. Nothing today suggested the wicket was playing up unduly, apart from a few deliveries that kept a little low. Mark Footitt's worst spell in some weeks let Durham get away, before Tony Palladino's late spell removed the openers and left us with a glimmer of hope to make early inroads tomorrow.
From 242-3, to fail to make 300 was disappointing. The middle order came and went in the blink of an eye and it took a late flourish from Palladino and Wainwright to get us close to the extra bonus point, which for the second game running we missed by two runs. Those two points may, come season end, make all the difference, but we'll have to wait and see on that one.
At this stage it is hard to see how we can win this game, short of a major spell tomorrow morning. If first innings scores are close, any declaration would have to be very carefully timed and I'm not sure if we would come out of a last day run chase on top, with the wicket as it is.
Somerset look like having little play tomorrow, so any finish there looks likely to be contrived. I don't see Surrey setting an easy target, especially when they are still forty behind on first innings. That being the case, maybe a draw would do us, something that our earlier batting deserved at the very least.
I was staggered - no, make that embarrassed - to read a Derbyshire supporter criticising Paul Borrington tonight after anchoring our innings with an innings of considerable skill. Making 75 against the best new ball attack in the country is a laudable effort and the lad should be praised for having the guts and technique to stay in there and allow others to bat around him, playing more expansive shots. He now averages 38 from five completed innings this summer, third in the averages and still gets people moaning.
It is a disgrace. I can only say that if we'd had similar application from players at the start of the summer, we may not be where we are right now. There was good support from Shiv and Richard Johnson before it all went somewhat pear-shaped with the second new ball.
Anyway, tomorrow is our bowler's turn. I'll be down there and look forward to a day of niggardly, aggressive bowling and sharp fielding. Any sort of lead is welcome and the next six sessions of cricket promise to be pulsating stuff.
It may be top v (near) bottom, but I doubt Durham feel they've outclassed us at this stage. As for our lads, they've given the likely title winners a tough battle for six sessions. We need to maintain that intensity tomorrow and Saturday.
Big effort, lads...