Worcestershire 431 for 6 (Barnard 116*, D’Oliveira 100, Haynes 68, Raine 4-64) trail Durham 672 for 7 dec (Ravindra 217, Raine 103*, Coughlin 100*, Borthwick 96, Bushnell 66) by 211 runs

Brett D’Oliveira and Ed Barnard scored centuries to bat Worcestershire back into their LV= Insurance County Championship Division Two match against Durham at Seat Unique Riverside.

D’Oliveira and Barnard shared a stand worth 197 for the sixth wicket to defy the home side, who were forced to toil in the field claiming only three wickets from the 96 overs. The Worcestershire skipper fell shortly after reaching three figures, but Barnard remained unbeaten at the close on 116, although the Pears still trail Durham by 211 runs with four first-innings wickets remaining.

Ben Raine was once again the pick of the Durham bowlers, striking twice on a placid pitch, but the North-East outfit’s hopes of securing their second Championship win of the season appear to be slim heading into the final day of the contest.

Worcestershire resumed their innings on 140 for three, still 502 runs behind the hosts. Nightwatch Charlie Morris was the first man out as Raine notched his third wicket when Scott Borthwick claimed his second catch of the game at second slip. Haynes was undeterred at the other end and passed fifty for the fourth time this term with a sublime cover drive off Paul Coughlin.

He and D’Oliveira worked the gaps in the field in their stand worth 61 for the fifth wicket before Liam Trevaskis made the breakthrough. Haynes’ 100% conversion rate in the 2022 campaign came to an end when he edged the left-arm spinner behind for 68, presenting the hosts with an opening into the Worcestershire lower order.

However, the visitors regained their footing with D’Oliveira and Barnard at the crease with a dominant stand for the sixth wicket. D’Oliveira was patient in his approach as he reached his half-century from 137 balls, while Barnard went about his business with a faster tempo, reaching his fifty with a sublime straight drive down the ground against Matt Salisbury. The Durham bowlers kept toiling, but chances were few and far between due to the flat wicket and impressive batting from the Worcestershire duo.

Barnard and D’Oliveira passed Worcestershire’s highest partnership for the sixth wicket against Durham, surging through the 117 set by Steve Davies and David Wheeldon in 2009 at New Road. Both players were comfortable against both pace and spin, whittling down Durham’s advantage and securing four batting points in the process for the Pears.

D’Oliveira’s grit was rewarded with his third century of the season from his 249th delivery, but he fell soon after reaching the milestone lbw to Raine, ending a partnership worth 197 with Barnard. Despite his achievement, the Worcestershire captain appeared frustrated after his dismissal, punching his bat before walking to the pavilion.

Barnard pressed on to his second hundred of 2022, and fourth in first-class cricket working Borthwick into the off-side to earn a deserved ovation from the crowd and team-mates on the Riverside balcony. He ended the day unbeaten alongside Gareth Roderick, although the visitors still need a further 61 to avoid the follow-on.