Two hours of rain when Durham looked on course for victory in the against Middlesex led to a dramatic draw on the final day at Lord's.
After initially being thwarted by a ninth-wicket stand of 82 between John Simpson and Tim Murtagh, Durham needed 130 to win off 45 overs and had reached 8-0 loss when the rain arrived.
On the resumption in bright sunshine at 5.15pm the target was 122 off 16.2 overs, but they slipped to 75-6 and it was suddenly Middlesex who scented the win.
Steven Finn (4-43) thought he had a five-wicket haul when Scott Borthwick edged to Andrew Strauss at first slip, but it was a no-ball and Borthwick survived the final four overs with skipper Phil Mustard as Durham closed on 82-6.
The only time they had the necessary momentum was when Mustard and Michael Di Venuto put on 33 in 3.5 overs for the fourth wicket. Will Smith, Paul Collingwood and Ben Stokes all went cheaply and the target was 99 off 11 overs when Mustard went in. He was unbeaten on 25 at the close.
When Graham Onions completed a 10-wicket match haul with two in the first four balls after lunch Middlesex were 91-8, only 41 ahead. But Murtagh cut and carved seven fours in contributing 45 off 50 balls to his stand with wicketkeeper Simpson before Middlesex were all out for 179, Simpson making 47.
Andrew Strauss suffered a second disappointing day at Lord's as Graham Onions clean bowled him for the second time in two days as the game heads towards a draw.
England captain Strauss was clean bowled on his second delivery by medium-pacer Onions 24 hours earlier, and on this occasion he lasted for 25 deliveries.
Strauss managed six runs before being beaten for pace by a straight Onions delivery that squeezed between bat and pad.
Strauss had earlier escaped a pair, when Callum Thorp just failed to hang on to a catch at gully.
Onions, who took six wickets in Middlesex's first innings, currently has match figures of 7-50.
However, with just one day remaining, only a batting collapse by Middlesex will prevent the contest from ending in a draw.
By stumps on day three, the hosts had reached 21-1 in their second innings, needing another 29 runs to make Durham bat again.
England captain Andrew Strauss lasted only two balls on his county return as Middlesex finished a truncated second day on 132-5 against Durham at Lord's.
Strauss, seeking some much-needed form ahead of the international summer, was dismissed in the first over of a second successive rain-hit day for a two-ball duck by Graham Onions, who went on to claim two more wickets to end with figures of 3-24.
Onions sent Strauss' off stump tumbling before snaring Joe Denly (1) and Dawid Malan (35) with deliveries which moved off the seam to catch the edge.
Middlesex batsman Neil Dexter, who temporarily relinquished captaincy duties ahead of this match, was the only home batsman to enjoy prolonged success against Durham's seamers and finished the day unbeaten on 65.
With no play possible on day one and only 39.3 overs sent down on Friday, though, the outcome of a positive result looks unlikely.
No play was possible on the first day at Lord's in only the second LV County Championship meeting between Middlesex and Durham in 10 years.
The rain stopped just long enough for Durham skipper Phil Mustard to win the toss shortly after the scheduled start.
As in last week's home defeat by Nottinghamshire, he asked Middlesex to bat but, with his bowlers preparing to take on opener Andrew Strauss, the rain returned.
There were occasional bursts of sunshine but every time the groundstaff began to mop up, the heavens opened, preventing any entertainment for the 2,000 schoolchildren to whom free tickets had been given.