Durham need to Root out Yorkshire opener

SOLID PARTNERSHIP: Will Smith, right, and Dale Benkenstein get among the runs for Durham. Smith ended on 42 with Benkenstein reaching 40 at Emirates Durham ICG

SOLID PARTNERSHIP: Will Smith, right, and Dale Benkenstein get among the runs for Durham. Smith ended on 42 with Benkenstein reaching 40 at Emirates Durham ICG

First published in Sport
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The Northern Echo: Photograph of the Author by

Day One
Durham v Yorkshire
LV County Championship

ON a day when the other three opening batsmen mustered eight runs between them, Joe Root showed the class which has propelled him into the England team.

The elegant right-hander demonstrated that batting against the new ball at Chester-le-Street is not impossible by making an unbeaten 30 as Yorkshire replied to Durham’s 237 with 57 for three.

The pitch looks sound and if Root continues with the same assurance this morning the depth of Yorkshire’s batting should allow them to match Durham’s late innings prosperity.

The only blemish on Root’s bloom was that he ran out Phil Jaques for a duck, but after being joined by skipper Andrew Gale on a jittery 13 for two there were no more scares until the final over.

After having an impassioned appeal for caught behind turned down off his fourth ball, Graham Onions had Gale lbw with the fifth.

Durham’s roller-coaster innings saw them recover from eight for two through a thirdwicket stand of 86.

But after passing the point when batting is supposed to become easier, they lost five wickets for 16 runs before Phil Mustard made 70 and supervised the addition of 125 for the last three wickets.

In the battle for England bowling places, Tim Bresnan struck with his first ball of the season in championship cricket and Onions with his fourth.

Bresnan’s opener was a beauty which hit the top of off stump, meaning a second successive golden duck for the unfortunate Keaton Jennings.

Bresnan continued to impress, giving nothing away in finishing with four for 41 in 20 overs.

As expected, Yorkshire preferred Liam Plunkett to Jack Brooks but he proved to be the weak link in an otherwise miserly seam attack.

Ryan Sidebottom, unfortunate to take only one wicket, conceded runs at 1.68 an over and Bresnan and Steve Patterson were almost as frugal.

The Northern Echo:

APPEALING: Yorkshire’s Ryan Sidebottom makes an appeal for a Durham wicket

Plunkett went for 67 in ten, although he did produce a good yorker to account for Scott Borthwick.

Leg-spinner Adil Rashid was also expensive on his return to the side, but two wellflighted googlies struck the stumps. Mustard was last out to the second of those when looking to farm the strike.

After choosing to field first backfired at Edgbaston last week, Paul Collingwood put his faith in his struggling top order when he won the toss again on a blustery morning.

As in the first innings against Warwickshire, Mark Stoneman did not appear to agree with the decision when he was given out caught off bat and pad at gully by Plunkett.

For the next few overs another collapse looked eminently possible, but with the help of a little luck and Plunkett’s profligacy Will Smith and Dale Benkenstein both reached 40.

Plunkett’s first ball was on the mark, but Smith pulled the second and fourth for four as the over yielded 11 and he was removed after conceding 27 in five. Patterson’s first five overs at the other end cost only two runs.

The collapse was sparked by Smith hooking Bresnan to long leg, where Sidebottom took a well-judged catch above his head.

Ben Stokes made two before becoming the second victim of an excellent spell by Bresnan.

He was drawn into playing wide of off stump and edged to Jonny Bairstow.

Three wickets had gone down in eight balls when Benkenstein played forward and edged a low catch to Root at third slip off Patterson.

Bresnan greeted Collingwood with two bouncers, which were the only balls he wasted. The Durham captain dug in, but after facing 15 balls without scoring a checked straight drive was defeated by late in-swing and he lost his leg stump.

Mustard did well to survive at that point as Bresnan brought several balls sharply into him, but at 112 for six Plunkett returned and removed Borthwick with his second ball.

Plunkett bowled two tight overs before Mustard cut him for four at the start of an over which cost 13. Then Callum Thorp hit Plunkett for two fours in his next over before he fired one down the leg side for four byes.

The stand was worth 41 in seven overs when Rashid bowled Thorp with his sixth ball.

Rashid proceeded to bowl poorly, allowing Onions to smack 27 off 21 balls before he was run out when Mustard played the ball into the leg side and declined to run.

Mustard reached his 81-ball half-century with a six wide of long-on off Patterson and kept going with a variety of sweeps off Rashid. Chris Rushworth looked untroubled at the other end, but after declining several singles Mustard fell victim to his own efforts to keep the strike.

Yorkshire’s innings got off to almost as bad a start as Durham’s when Adam Lyth played back to Onions and got a big inside edge into his stumps. Jaques’ exit made it 13 for two, but Root punished anything fractionally short and Durham will want to see the back of him quickly this morning.


Durham v Yorkshire
At Emirates Durham ICG.
Durham First Innings
M D Stoneman c Plunkett b Sidebottom 6
K K Jennings b Bresnan ....................... 0
W R Smith c Sidebottom b Bresnan .....42
D M Benkenstein c Root b Patterson ...40
B A Stokes c Bairstow b Bresnan ......... 2
P D Collingwood b Bresnan ................. 0
P Mustard b A U Rashid .......................70
S G Borthwick lbw b Plunkett ............... 1
C D Thorp b A U Rashid .......................21
G Onions run out ..................................27
C Rushworth not out ............................ 7
Extras (b3 lb16 nb2 pens 0) ....21
Total (73.4 overs) ...................237
Fall: 1-2 2-8 3-94 4-96 5-98 6-104 7-112 8-
153 9-197
Bowling: Sidebottom 16-6-27-1. Bresnan
20-6-41-4. Plunkett 10-1-67-1. Patterson
21-7-44-1. A U Rashid 6.4-0-39-2.

Yorkshire First Innings Close
A Lyth b Onions .................................... 0
J E Root not out ...................................30
P A Jaques run out ............................... 0
A W Gale lbw b Onions .........................25
Extras (nb2 pens 0) ...................2
Total 3 wkts (19.5 overs)..........57
Fall: 1-0 2-13 3-57
To Bat: J M Bairstow, G S Ballance, T T
Bresnan, L E Plunkett, A U Rashid, R J
Sidebottom, S A Patterson
Bowling: Onions 7.5-1-27-2. Rushworth 6-
2-17-0. Thorp 4-0-10-0. Stokes 2-1-3-0.

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