Durham rocked by students' century stand in friendly draw
Chris Rushworth struck twice in the opening five overs of the day, however the afternoon session was washed out because of rain.
Steel and MacDonnell both passed the half-century mark, but both sides agreed to call time on the game with dark clouds looming around the ground.
Durham announced prior to the start of play that seamer Rushworth had been handed a two-year contract extension, and his start to the morning session showed his worth.
Eben Kurtz’s stay at the crease last just six balls after he found the hands of Usman Arshad, who was cleverly placed at leg gully, without adding to his overnight score.
Jack Clark followed Kurtz back to the pavilion shortly after when Rushworth found his edge, which gave Scott Borthwick a catch in the slips to leave the students on 35-2.
Some tight bowling from the Durham pacemen gave away a mere 14 runs in the opening 10 overs of the day, but Steel and MacDonnell held on to rebuild the MCCU’s innings.
Onions almost sent Steel, who was out of his ground, on his way shortly before lunch, but MacDonnell’s straight drive, which was tipped by the former England man, evaded the stumps.
However, after the lunch break, which saw the students go in on 106-2, only seven deliveries were possible before the rain struck. An early tea was taken before play resumed at 3.40pm.
Steel brought up his half-century with a crunching drive through the covers before MacDonnell followed, bringing up his milestone with a striking boundary.
The 130-run stand was broken when Steel edged Onions to Gordon Muchall, and Ed Pollock departed shortly after as Keaton Jennings picked up his first wicket of the new season.
Storm clouds were looming around the ground and both captains agreed to call time on the game, but Jon Lewis will be left disappointed with the lack of match practice ahead of their Specsavers County Championship with Somerset on Sunday.
Durham 350-3 dec (Richardson 115no, Stoneman 83) drew with Durham MCCU 191-4 (MacDonnell 81no, Steel 56; Rushworth 2-22).