Alex Hughes hit the third first-class century of his career as Derbyshire set Durham a challenging 282 to win on Day Three of their Specsavers County Championship match at Queen’s Park, Chesterfield.
Derbyshire got off to the start they hoped for, Durham adding just 27 to their overnight score before Gurjit Sandhu wrapped up the innings. Resuming 274-8, Barry McCarthy (39) was first out and Chris Rushworth (5) soon followed, both lbw as the visitors were all out for 301.
Hughes led the Derbyshire fightback after early wickets fell, hitting 108 as the hosts posted 214 in their second innings, in doing so setting Durham 282 to win. They closed Day Three on 36-0.
Alex Hughes said: “It’s probably my favourite hundred so far, I felt under pressure coming into the game with not really performing how I wanted to. I’ve played well at times without getting the runs and cricket is a very fickle game so days like this keep you loving it.
“It’s the kind of wicket where wickets have gone in clusters, the odd ball is keeping low and it’s starting to spin now which is a real bonus for us. But because this is a fast scoring ground, the game can change quickly so it could be a cracking day four.”
Ben Slater (2) was caught in the slips in the first over for Derbyshire, and Billy Godleman (8) soon followed, both openers out with the score 22-2.
When Wayne Madsen was out for four, caught behind by Stuart Poynter off Rushworth, Derbyshire were 31-3 with a lead of 98 and the game finely balanced.
Luis Reece batted nicely as wickets fell around him, making 37 before he was lbw to Paul Coughlin. Matt Critchley began to rebuild along with Hughes as Derbyshire’s lead passed 200 at tea.
But when Critchley (28) was out to McCarthy and Daryn Smit (4) followed two balls later, Durham were working their way back into the game, Derbyshire’s lead 214.
Tony Palladino came and went, caught behind by the stood-up Poynter off Ryan Pringle without scoring, bringing Sandhu to the crease.
He batted resolutely, batting out 45 balls for nine runs, allowing Hughes to score freely at the other end as he passed 50.
Sandhu was bowled by Matty Potts shortly before Hughes reached his third first-class century off 146 balls, including 15 fours and one six, with the score 198-8.
Imran Tahir was bowled by Potts for five and Hughes was eventually out for 108, lbw to Pringle for a well-made 108, Derbyshire all out for 214, setting Durham 282 runs to win.
The Durham openers responded well to a challenging total, Michael Richardson unbeaten on 29 and Cameron Steel not out on seven as the visitors closed 36-0, requiring 246 runs to win on the final day.
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