Kane Williamson led Yorkshire's reply as the current Division One leaders closed day two at Scarborough on 182-3 in reply to Durham's huge total of 573.
Requiring 424 simply to avoid the possibility of the follow-on, Yorkshire were wobbling a little at 107-3 against their nearest rivals in the LV= County Championship standings.
Adam Lyth was the first to go for 10, while fellow opener Phil Jaques had made 36 before falling to the leg spin of Scott Borthwick. Andrew Gale was the third wicket to go down, trapped lbw by Jamie Harrison.
However Williamson - who was dismissed first ball in his only previous Championship innings for the White Rose county - combined with Jonny Bairstow to put on an unbroken alliance worth 75.
By the close Williamson had 76 to his name, including 12 boundaries, while England international Bairstow was unbeaten on 42 from 100 deliveries.
Durham had resumed on the second day on 406-6 but Paul Collingwood added only seven to his overnight 74 before he went back to Ryan Sidebottom (4-85) and was adjudged lbw.
However Mark Richardson did carry on to reach three figures, the son of former South Africa wicketkeeper David managing a highest score of 102.
He combined with Harrison to put on a frustrating ninth-wicket partnership worth 84 in 22 overs before the latter was run-out for 35.
It was left to No 11 Chris Rushworth to successfully partner Richardson to his century, as Durham posted their highest ever total against Yorkshire.