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Markram misery continues as Durham toil against Leicestershire

Hosts face uphill battle at Chester-le-Street

Aiden Markram was dismissed for a duck for the third time in three innings as Durham’s batting woes at Chester-le-Street continued, handing Leicestershire control of their Specsavers County Championship Division Two contest.

The South African was dismissed for a pair in his side’s opening match of the season against Kent before their clash with Northamptonshire was washed out.

And Markram was unable to register his first runs for Durham as he was part of the collapse that reduced the home side to 14-4 in response to Leicestershire’s total of 440, with Ben Raine striking three times.

Graham Clark offered resistance with a stoic half-century, while James Weighell also provided runs – but the visitors are in a strong position and look well set to end their 17-match winless Championship run.

Leicestershire began the day on 301 for four but were pegged back as Mark Cosgrove was removed for 75 lbw by Weighell. Barry McCarthy then struck when Lewis Hill played on to his own stumps before Raine played a loose drive to lose his wicket to the part-time off-spin of Will Smith.

Neil Dexter ensured that Leicestershire posted 400 with a half-century made in 96 deliveries. He was unbeaten at the end of the innings as Cameron Steel and Markram dismissed Gavin Griffiths and Varun Aaron respectively.

Durham’s reply got off to a disastrous start as Steel left a straight ball from Aaron from the third ball of the innings.

Markram followed in the next over when he was on the receiving end of a fine delivery from Raine, then Leicestershire’s Sunderland-born seamer put his side in complete command as he removed Smith and Paul Collingwood.

Michael Richardson made 18 to provide brief respite before he was yorked by Griffiths, while Stuart Poynter received the same fate to leave Durham 51 for six.

Clark displayed the appetite for the fight and was able to fend off quality bowling from the visitors, with the aid of fortune from a couple of lbw shouts.

Weighell recorded his highest first-class score against Kent and again proved his value with the bat, providing a solid complement for Clark.

The duo reached the 50 partnership off 88 balls, but their stand was broken at 61 when Weighell was bowled by Griffiths for 29.

Clark continued his defiance by reaching his half-century before the close, reaching the milestone from 127 deliveries.

However, the home side trail by 298 and need a spectacular effort from their final three partnerships even to avoid the follow-on.

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