VARIABLE bounce in the Chester-le-Street pitch helped Northamptonshire to strengthen their grip on the Specsavers County Championship division two match against Durham.

But after taking three early wickets they dropped Paul Collingwood on nought and the Durham skipper shared an unbroken stand of 62 with Cameron Steel to take his side to 160 for four, trailing by 12.

Collingwood was missed at first slip by Chesney Hughes off Rory Kleinveldt, who found some extra bounce after skidding a couple through low to bowl nightwatchman Barry McCarthy and Graham Clark.

Ben Sanderson nipped one back sharply in the second over to nick Stephen Cook's off stump, the South African departing for 42 as he looked to play square on the off side.

Steel played well to reach 41 at lunch with Collingwood on 24.