Durham are staring at defeat in the season curtain-raiser against the MCC in Abu Dhabi despite a century from opener Mark Stoneman.
The MCC will begin the final day at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium on 48-2, requiring a further 176 runs for victory having dismissed Durham for 257 in their second innings.
Stoneman hit 115 for the County champions but it proved a near lone hand with Gordon Muchall (56) the only other Durham batsman to pass 20.
The MCC lost openers Sam Robson and Luis Reece cheaply in the final 20 overs of the day as they set about their victory target of 224 - Jamie Harrison and Scott Borthwick taking a wicket apiece to keep Durham hopes alive.
Daniel Bell-Drummond (15 not out) and Virender Sehwag (9 not out) will continue the MCC's chase on the final morning.
Durham, who resumed on the third morning at 39-1, began the day looking to build a potentially match-winning lead.
However, aside from Stoneman and Muchall - who shared a fifth-wicket stand of 60 before the former was bowled by Andre Adams - they offered precious little with the bat.
Nottinghamshire left-armer Harry Gurney claimed 3-50, while Monty Panesar (2-66) added two more victims to his five-wicket haul in the first innings.