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Don’t let Championship decline, pleads Cook
DURHAM’S head coach Geoff Cook took delight in his team’s progress towards the title yesterday but also admitted that county cricket is being allowed to decline.
His Sussex counterpart, Mark Robinson, expressed similar sentiments after being forced to travel to Chester-le- Street with a team seriously depleted by the meaningless Ireland v England one-day international.
He also lost batsman Matt Machan to the Scotland v Australia game and the result is that his third-placed team now look nothing like title contenders.
They were all out for 112, 133 behind, and when Durham slipped to 90 for five 12 wickets had fallen in half a day.
It is not Mustard’s game.
When suppressing his attacking instincts in the past he has been known to dig himself into a hole from which the only escape was to get out.
But he adapted perfectly to the situation yesterday, making 57 not out off 136 balls.
Durham extended the lead to 345 by reaching 212 for six at the close of the second day.
They will be grateful to wrap up their eighth win today, ahead of tomorrow’s forecast rain. It would take them 14.5 points clear at the top.
After last week’s terrific four-day battle at Scarborough, the cricket seemed unsatisfactory for the first 50 overs yesterday and Cook said: “England calls, Lions calls and the restrictions on overseas players has reduced the overall quality.
“Spectators deserve to see the best, but while the authorities want the game to progress I’m not sure the decisions they are taking are best for the players.
“When central contracts were first introduced England players were still available for their counties. We still saw quite a lot of Steve Harmison.
“Then there were the Kolpak signings and the overseas players were still of a high quality, which meant that seven or eight years ago the county championship was a stronger competition.”
Cook will continue to share his duties with Jon Lewis until the end of the season following his heart attack before a decision is taken about his future. “We have to decide what’s best for me and my family,” he said.
Usman Arshad, playing his second first-class match, must have felt it was an easy game yesterday morning, when he took three for 16.
Chris Rushworth might not have agreed as he bowled superbly yet finished wicketless as hapless Sussex were not good enough to touch his best deliveries.
When the visitors resumed on 60 for three Graham Onions took the day’s first two wickets to finish with four for 50, starting when left-hander Luke Wells drove well wide of off stump and edged to Mustard.
Wells is known for dogged application; Rory Hamilton- Brown is not. He drove the first ball he faced for a straight four then drove at an away swinger and gave the Mustard-Onions combination another scalp.
A glance at the team sheet suggested there was little to follow and so it proved. Nightwatchman James Anyon resisted well to make 19 before fending a return catch to Mitch Claydon and wicketkeeper Ben Brown remained unbeaten on 21.
Of the remaining four, three made ducks and 18-yearold debutant Harry Finch scored 11 before Arshad had him lbw. He also earned two more catches for Mustard, while Claydon bowled last man Lewis Hatchett to finish with three for 25.
With the ball again swinging and the pitch offering some seam movement, wickets continued to tumble.
Mark Stoneman again started fluently before a ball from Anyon which kept low had him lbw for 21.
The rest of the top five fell to edged catches and there was a point when Will Smith and Michael Richardson seemed desperate to keep the score moving as they took some risky runs. Sussex allowed them to get away with it through a series of fumbles.
Runs dried up as Collingwood and Mustard set out to see off the dangerous Steve Magoffin. They succeeded but runs were still at a premium as Chris Nash was in his tenth over of off spin and had conceded only 13 runs when Collingwood tried to work him to leg off the back foot and was lbw for 46.
Arshad showed scant respect for Nash, getting off the mark by driving him for a straight six.
It was the sort of thing Mustard used to do and still could, but his restraint yesterday was just what the doctor ordered for Durham.
Durham v Sussex
At Emirates Durham ICG.
Overnight: Durham 245 (M D Stoneman 96;
J E Anyon 4-87). Sussex 60-3.
Sussex First Innings
L W Wells c Mustard b Onions ............17
J E Anyon c & b Claydon ...................19
R J Hamilton-Brown c Mustard b Onions ..4
H Z Finch lbw b Arshad ......................11
B C Brown not out ............................21
W A Beer c Mustard b Arshad ...............0
S J Magoffin c Mustard b Arshad ..........0
L J Hatchett b Claydon .......................0
Extras (w1 nb4 pens 0) ................5
Total (44.5 overs) .......................112
Fall: 1-28 2-28 3-48 4-69 5-75 6-81 7-
103 8-111 9-111
Bowling: Onions 14-4-50-4. Rushworth 14-
5-21-0. Arshad 8-2-16-3. Claydon 8.5-0-25-
Durham Second Innings Close
M D Stoneman lbw b Anyon ..............21
K K Jennings c Nash b Magoffin .........10
S G Borthwick c B C Brown b Anyon ..10
W R Smith c B C Brown b Hatchett ....22
M J Richardson c B C Brown b Magoffin 20
P D Collingwood lbw b Nash .............45
P Mustard not out ............................57
Arshad not out ................................16
Extras (b4 lb5 w2 pens 0) ..........11
Total 6 wkts (71 overs)...............212
Fall: 1-27 2-31 3-54 4-84 5-90 6-183
To Bat: M E Claydon, G Onions, C Rushworth.
Bowling: Magoffin 16-4-42-2. Anyon 16-3-
56-2. Hatchett 14-0-58-1. Gatting 3-0-7-0.
Beer 10-1-19-0. Nash 12-5-21-1.
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