Will Smith led Durham's fightback with a dogged century on day two of the Division One clash at Nottinghamshire.
Smith, promoted to open in place of Keaton Jennings, scored his first hundred in 25 first-class innings and closed on an unbeaten 119 off 308 balls, as the visitors finished on 297-6 - 23 runs adrift of Nottinghamshire's first-innings score.
Chris Rushworth and Scott Borthwick had fallen early in the day, both to catches behind the stumps.
Nightwatchman Rushworth had stroked Ajmal Shahzad for a couple of boundaries in the opening over before nicking the same bowler through to wicketkeeper Chris Read.
Scott Borthwick, also elevated in the order, followed suit after edging behind off Luke Fletcher to depart for 16.
Dale Benkenstein began his innings in a hurry, hitting five boundaries and lofting Graeme Swann for six over long-on before Steven Mullaney had him trapped in front for 27 after hurrying one through his defences just before lunch.
Ben Stokes was squared up by a sharply lifting delivery and he offered Stuart Broad a simple caught and bowled off a leading edge having made just 11.
At 148-5, Durham were facing a sizeable first-innings deficit but a sixth-wicket stand of 115 between Smith and captain Paul Collingwood largely alleviated their worries.
The visiting skipper batted positively to reach his own 50 but then became embroiled in a fiercely intense duel with Broad, before edging to Read for 64.
On a surface that offered him little assistance, Swann bowled 20 tidy but wicketless overs on his return to competitive action.
Broad left the field late in the day with groin pain for the second day running.