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Page last updated at 18:55 GMT, Wednesday, 31 March 2010 19:55 UK

Spinners put champions in control

Champion County friendly match, Abu Dhabi (day three, close):
Durham 459-9 dec & 228-6 dec v MCC 162 & 156-7
Match scorecard

Scott Borthwick in action
Leg-spinner Scott Borthwick impressed on a wearing pitch in Abu Dhabi

Durham ripped through the MCC batting line-up for the second day in a row to move within three wickets of a decisive victory at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium.

Callum Thorp (79no), Kyle Coetzer (52no) and Phil Mustard (50) all hit half centuries as the champions declared on 228-6, setting 526 to win.

But the MCC again buckled in response as spinners Ian Blackwell and Scott Borthwick each took three wickets.

James Taylor partially atoned for a third ball first innings duck with 39.

But it was left to a unbroken eighth wicket stand of 59 between two fast bowlers, Middlesex's Tim Murtagh and Gloucestershire's Jon Lewis, just to see the game into a fourth day.

MCC's labours in the field on Monday suggested that the pink ball being trialled in this prestigious fixture offers little for the bowlers. But Durham have gone about proving the opposite ever since.

The champions were briefly in a spot of bother at 74-5.

But, once first day centurion Coetzer and Thorp together, they were offered some fairly easy pickings as the frontline bowlers were withdrawn from the action in favour part-time spin from Taylor and Dawid Malan.

Thorp took full advantage, helping himself to a rare half-century before moving up the gears to pass his previous first-class best of 75, while Coetzer followed up his career-best first innings 172.

Despite the awkward twilight period closing in, Smith delayed the inevitable declaration by a handful of overs.

Set 536 to win, just seven of those had been scored when Steve Harmison struck in his third over, Scott Newman playing on for a second failure of the match.

Blackwell's left-arm spin then began to trouble the batsmen, Gidman being bowled for a breezy 17 after missing a paddle sweep. And his three scalps left Durham's opponents in deep trouble at 44-4.

Borthwick then got in on the act too, with three wickets of his own, the last of which was PCA Young Player of the Year Taylor after a composed 39.

By now, the result was a formality, but Lewis and Murtagh at least ensured that Abu Dhabi cricket lovers would witness a fourth day.

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see also
Durham bowlers put MCC to sword
30 Mar 10 |  Counties
Durham in Abu Dhabi - Diary part two
30 Mar 10 |  Durham
Durham dominate MCC in Abu Dhabi
29 Mar 10 |  Counties
Durham in Abu Dhabi - Diary part one
29 Mar 10 |  Durham
MCC v Durham photos
29 Mar 10 |  Cricket
Abu Dhabi set for county opener
28 Mar 10 |  Counties
MCC call up trio for Durham game
23 Mar 10 |  Cricket
Glos' Gidman given MCC captaincy
26 Jan 10 |  Gloucestershire

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