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Warwickshire's Westwood leads fightback against Durham

CLOSE OF PLAY, DAY THREE: Durham 379, Warwickshire 100 & 229-4
(Durham 7pts, Warwicks 3pts)
Match scorecard

Ian Westwood
Westwood hit his third Championship half century in 14 innings this season

Warwickshire skipper Ian Westwood was closing in on his first century of 2010 as he led the Bears' fightback against Durham on day three at Edgbaston.

After being bowled out for just 100 by Durham's supposedly second-string attack, the home side were forced to follow on 279 runs behind.

But, after slumping to 62-3, they recovered to make a better fist of it second time around, closing on 229-4.

Rikki Clarke went for 66, but Westwood was still there at the close on 86.

The Bears still trail by 50 runs against the reigning champions, with six second-innings wickets in hand going into the final day.

Westwood and Clarke's 114-run fourth-wicket stand restored Warwickshire's resolve after they had registered their lowest total in 11 years.

But Durham are still favourites to chalk up a third win in defence of last season's title against the top flight's bottom team.

The morning session was a nightmare for Warwickshire.

With nine wickets falling for 82, it became their least productive batting performance since collapsing for just 86 against Essex at Chelmsford in April 1999.

The absence of England duo Ian Bell and Jonathan Trott was only a partial excuse for their failure to reach 150 in the first innings for the third match in succession.

The pitch was neither spiteful nor an absolute turner and there was only a hint of swing to assist a Durham attack missing four front-line seamers in Steve Harmison, Graham Onions, Mark Davies and Callum Thorp.

It was an indictment of the top order that Andrew Miller, the nightwatchman, ended top scorer with 35.

The former Lancashire paceman came into this match with a career record of 19 runs from 10 first-class innings and yet he was able to outshine everyone in terms of application and good sense.

Having defended quite comfortably for 90 minutes, he only lost his wicket in a sudden rush of blood.

Not content with a six and four from successive balls, he was bowled by Ian Blackwell lining up another big hit.

New-ball pair Mitchell Claydon and Chris Rushworth shared Warwickshire's first five wickets, while Blackwell also accounted for debutant keeper Richard Johnson and Liam Plunkett cleaned up the tail.

But, second time around, the Bears did at least give themselves hope of avoiding a fifth defeat in seven games.

BBC Sport's Warwickshire correspondent Clive Eakin offers his day three verdict from Edgbaston:

Whether or not Ian Westwood goes on to complete his hundred, this has been a massive innings from him.

After being part of the Bears' worst batting performance for 11 years in the first innings, the captain has led by example in the second.

Westwood's form, along with that of the other senior batsmen, has come under heavy scrutiny lately and he responded by getting his head down and refusing to give his wicket away.

Rikki Clarke's controlled aggression complemented Westwood well and it was highly encouraging to see wicket-keeper Richard Johnson, on his Championship debut, see out the last 21 overs of the day.

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see also
Skipper Mustard thwarts spinner
30 May 10 |  Counties
Durham held up by Edgbaston rain
29 May 10 |  Counties

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