WORCESTERSHIRE batted throughout day four to secure an unlikely draw with Durham in their County Championship match at New Road.

Having ended day threeΒ on 82/2, Azhar Ali (92) and Jack Haynes (120*) put on a third-wicket partnership of almost 200 runs as they stood firm to earn a draw.

Durham had dominated the contest from the opening day after Ben Stokes inspired his side to 580/6 declared on day two before skittling Worcestershire for 309 on day three.

Durham chose not to enforce the follow on and gave The Pears a target of 442 and despite losing early wickets on Saturday, Azhar and Haynes came to the rescue and batted superbly before both sides shook hands on the draw.

The final day started with the only realistic aim being a draw for Worcestershire.Β 

Azhar and Haynes had managed to get to the end of day three and both settled into their stride in the opening overs.Β 

Haynes, in particular, reeled off a series of delightful back foot cover drives, but Azhar also grew in confidence after what has been a challenging start to the campaign.

New England captain Ben Stokes tried to unsettle the Pakistan batter during a spell where the accent was very much on short-pitched deliveries.

He had a leg slip and two players in position for the hook, but Azhar was unfazed and clipped Stokes for two through mid-wicket to complete a 100 ball half century.

Haynes then steered Matt Salisbury for his ninth four to third man to complete his fifty from 87 deliveries.

Durham captain Scott Borthwick rang the changes, but Azhar and Haynes safely negotiated 30 overs during the opening session in excellent fashion, adding 76 runs.

After lunch, it was a similar picture with Haynes and Azhar, who went one spell of 34 balls without scoring, coping with all Durham could throw at them.

Azhar on 74 was dropped in the gulley off Matt Salisbury in a rare chance.

The second new ball was taken at 230-3, and the first over brought an end to Azhar’s fine innings on 92 when he edged a ball from Rushworth that moved away to second slip.

His 224 ball knock spanned more than five hours and contained 12 boundaries.

The partnership of 195 in 74 overs was the highest for Worcestershire for any wicket against Durham.

There was joy in the next over for Haynes when he went to three figures with his boundary off Potts as Worcestershire reached 234-3 off 82 overs by tea.

After tea, Club Captain Brett D’Oliveira and Haynes safely negotiated a second spell of the day from Stokes before both sides shook hands on the draw.