Worcestershire CCC will be striving to reproduce the fighting qualities which have become the trademark with their batting this summer to protect their unbeaten record on the final day of the LV=Insurance County Championship against Durham at the Emirates Riverside.
They have been set a 423 target in a day plus 14 overs but the first – and most realistic – objective will be to keep the probing Durham attack at bay and earn eight points for a draw.
It will need a repeat of the splendid heroics shown against Essex (twice), Derbyshire and Warwickshire in the face of imposing challenges on a pitch where more than the occasional ball is keeping low.
They were given the ideal start by Daryl Mitchell (45 not out) and Jake Libby (14 not out) who took advantage of attacking fields to reach 60-0 from 14 overs by the close.
Durham had resumed on 79-1 and reached 389-5 declared, after Will Young and Jack Burnham completed centuries, although they were kept in check by the County attack and under three runs an over until a late onslaught from the batsmen.
Josh Tongue, who ended with match figures of 40.2-6-98-7, and Charlie Morris picked up two wickets apiece.
Worcestershire Club Captain, Joe Leach, made a breakthrough in the second over of the day with only three runs added.
Scott Borthwick (27) edged a delivery from Leach and keeper Ben Cox pulled off an excellent one handed catch low to his left.
It ended a partnership of 54 with Young but it was not the beginning of the cluster of wickets that Worcestershire were hoping for.
Dave Bedingham, the leading run-scorer in the country this summer, joined Young and the pair added a further 69 in 22.1 overs.
Young completed a composed half century from 128 balls with seven fours.
Durham were handed a bonus five runs when a Leach delivery hit the fielder’s helmet positioned on the ground behind keeper Cox.
Leach ran the changes in an effort to make further breakthroughs and it was Tongue who broke the Bedingham-Young stand.
Bedingham on 33 jabbed his bat at the delivery and provided Cox with his second catch of the day at 151-3.
The floodlights came on in mid afternoon shortly and Young on 94 had a let-off when six runs short of his century.
Ed Barnard dropped a delivery short and Young went for the pull and was dropped at deep backward square leg.
Tongue took the new ball at 217-3 from 80 overs and an on drive for four by Young took him to three figures from 246 balls with his 13th boundary.
But he added only three more runs before becoming Tongue’s seventh victim of the match.
Young (103) offered no stroke to a ball which nipped back sharply and was leg before after adding a further 81 with Burnham.
Burnham had time to complete a 111 ball half century with six fours before tea which was taken at 271-4 from 95 overs.
He had one slice of luck when attempting to leave a short ball from Morris but the ball struck his bat and ballooned over Cox and away to the boundary.
Durham continued batting after tea and Ned Eckersley dominated a stand of 146 off 22,3 overs with Burnham.
Morris ended Eckersley’s knock of 86 from 57 balls when he holed out to Brett D’Oliveira at deep point and Durham declared immediately after Burnham reached his hundred from 184 balls with one six and 10 fours.
Mitchell went on the offensive when Worcestershire began their reply.
He picked up three boundaries off Chris Rushworth via a cut, a chop to third man and an off drive and took a big stride down the wicket to try and combat the threat of the paceman.
Jake Libby had an escape on eight when he edged a delivery from Mark Wood and the low chance was spilled at second slip by Borthwick.
The half century stand came up in the 10th over and by the close Mitchell had struck six fours.