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Collingwood: We are over-achieving, but long may it continue
DURHAM skipper Paul Collingwood yesterday listed the problems the club has faced this season and expressed his amazement that his side are second in the table.
Financial difficulties, injuries, the heart attack suffered by coach Geoff Cook and the sleepless night because of a fire alarm in their Nottingham hotel were among the setbacks recalled by Collingwood.
"We keep thinking it's surely got to stop, but then we keep finding a way to win," he said. "To be honest I think we're over-achieving, but it's amazing what you can do if people stick together and perform their roles well.
"We have a strategy that works well and the camaraderie is spot on.
It's been a pleasure to lead from the day I took over."
After winning five of their last six games to shrug off the threat of relegation last year, Durham have won six this season, which equals their number of victories when they won their first title in 2008.
There are still five games to go, starting with this week's top-of-the-table clash at Scarborough.
Durham bagged 23 points, one short of the maximum, in the innings and 144-run win against hapless Surrey, who also lost by an innings at Chester-le-Street last year.
Once Hashim Amla had gone 20 minutes before lunch the rest swiftly followed, with Mark Wood taking three wickets in four balls either side of the interval.
Five successive batsmen fell to catches by wicketkeeper Phil Mustard as Surrey crumbled to 169 all out, the last five wickets going down for 11 runs as they surrendered without a semblance of fight.
Chris Rushworth snared Amla when he had made 89 of the first 137 runs.
Then in the last over before the break Steve Davies and Gareth Batty edged successive balls from Wood to Mustard.
Gary Wilson survived the hat-trick ball afterwards but then drove wide of off stump at the next and gave the wicketkeeper a straightforward catch.
Mustard's next was a spectacular effort, diving to his left down the leg side after Chris Tremlett gloved a bouncer from Jamie Harrison.
After taking seven wickets in the 22.4 overs which were possible on Saturday, the final seven went down in 19 overs once Wood had made the breakthrough after 50 minutes yesterday.
Zander de Bruyn contributed only 12 to a fourth-wicket stand of 68 before he was caught low down at third slip by Michael Richardson in Wood's first over of the day.
Amla proved himself on a different planet from his new team-mates, scoring his runs off only 110 balls.
It was like watching Kumar Sangakarra batting against Durham at Edgbaston a few years ago, when no-one else could get the ball off the square but the Sri Lankan kept stroking it to all parts.
Amla had a shot for anything Durham bowled at him, starting the day on 32 and repeatedly tucking Harrison away through mid-wicket.
Only Rushworth troubled him, having a good shout for lbw turned down with the batsman on 48 and beating him on 85.
On both occasions the next ball was dispatched for one of his 13 boundaries, but straight after the last one he flailed at a ball well wide of off stump and Mustard took a one-handed catch high to his right. That was effectively the end of Surrey and the game ended at 1.55, despite the loss of more than a day to the weather.