Glamorgan 154 and 79 for 7 trail Durham 295 (Axar 95*, Lees 69, Smith 5-87) by 62 runs
On the day that Aneurin Donald, the 21-year-old Glamorgan batsman, decided to leave the club and join Hampshire, two Durham batsmen making their debut for the club made sizeable contributions as the visitors took control on the second day of their Championship game at Sophia Gardens. At the close, Glamorgan were 79 for 7 in their second innings, still needing 62 more runs to avoid an innings defeat.
Alex Lees, formerly of Yorkshire, opened the batting and made a fluent 69 from 98 balls with 12 fours, to lay the foundations of Durham’s first innings total of 296, then the Indian allrounder Axar Patel helped his team recover after a mid-innings collapse. Patel was unbeaten on 95 and looked crestfallen as No. 11 Chris Rushworth was bowled by Michael Hogan.
Durham had resumed on 75 without loss, with Lees and Cameron Steel extending their partnership to 94 for the first wicket, before Steel shouldered arms to Ruaidhri Smith and was bowled off stump. Gareth Harte was then dismissed in identical fashion, and when Graham Clark and Michael Richardson both edged Smith to the keeper, Durham had subsided to 144 for 5.
Patel, who has not played a Test, but who has appeared in 38 ODIs and 11 T20Is, has joined Durham for the final six Championship games, and after taking 2 for 10 in Glamorgan’s first innings, he played an attractive innings with most of his 12 boundaries struck in the region between cover point and mid-off.
Stuart Poynter gave him valuable support as he contributed 29 in a seventh-wicket stand of 61, which enabled Durham to gain a lead of 141 on a pitch which continued to help the seamers.
After they were dismissed in 49.1 overs in their first innings, Glamorgan were again in familiar territory, slumping to 40 for 4 in the 16th over. Nick Selman was the first to go when he was strangled down the leg side, then Kiran Carlson and Jack Murphy fell to Rushworth.
David Lloyd became the fourth victim when he gave Poynter his third catch, and when Cooke nudged Patel to the keeper – although the batsman was reluctant to leave the crease – half the team had gone for 51. But before the next batsman had reached the middle, rain forced the players indoors.
After a short wait, they reappeared, with Connor Brown, who was not off the mark until his 30th delivery, beginning to play with more freedom. However, when Steel was brought on with his occasional spin, he dismissed Brown with his first ball and later dismissed Andrew Salter.
The game would surely have finished on the second evening had the rain not returned with 14 overs remaining and Glamorgan facing the prospect of being dismissed for under 100 for the third time in the last four innings.