Durham v Sommerset: LV= County Championship (Day Two)
JUST when Durham seemed to be building a commanding lead on the second day of their home match against Somerset they lost five wickets for 35 runs.
They somehow allowed a flagging attack to gain fresh hope, leaving Paul Collingwood to steady the ship in an unbroken stand of 29 with Jamie Harrison.
It stretched Durham’s lead to 275 with three wickets standing, but the fall of 17 wickets on the day was not a true reflection of the pitch and it will be remembered that at roughly this time last year Yorkshire scored 339 for six to win in the fourth innings.
Durham will resume on 152 for seven and it should be enough if Graham Onions and Chris Rushworth bowl as well as in the first innings.
The new-ball pair took four wickets each in dismissing a powerful batting line-up for 185, then Keaton Jennings stretched the lead of 123 by following his first innings 80 with another solid knock of 41.
Already without Steve Kirby, Craig Overton and Alfonso Thomas, Somerset were unable to call on fourth seamer Craig Meschede yesterday because of a side strain.
With Jamie Overton experiencing run-up problems, it left a huge onus on fitness fanatic Peter Trego, whose habit of doing press-ups in the field disappeared under the burden. But Durham were rocking when he took two wickets in two balls in his 16th over, Gareth Breese going first ball to become the 13th lbw victim of the match.
Durham are overcoming the early season struggles of last year’s 1,000-run men, Mark Stoneman and Scott Borthwick, through the application of Jennings and Michael Richardson.
They came together at 31 for two and remained remarkably calm in a stand of 57. But just when it began look as though Somerset didn’t know where to turn Richardson sparked the turnaround by pulling a long hop to mid-wicket.
Jennings drove at Johann Myburgh’s off spin and edged to slip and Usman Arshad did something similar off Lewis Gregory after Phil Mustard had edged Trego to the wicketkeeper.
There were 11 lbws in the first innings and there might have been another from the fourth ball of Durham’s second innings, but Gregory added to the game’s other remarkable statistic by overstepping.
That took the no-ball total to 22 and there were three more later. But in his third over Gregory was successful when he struck the same batsman, Stoneman, who was out for six. After his century against MCC in Abu Dhabi, he has totalled 20 runs in four championship innings.
Borthwick made eight before punching a back-foot shot low to short mid-wicket’s right hand. It was a brilliant catch by Chris Jones, who had been deliberately positioned for the shot.
Durham bowled six noballs - four by Harrison and two by Rushworth. But they were far more disciplined than the Somerset seamers, Onions finishing with four for 65 and Rushworth four for 62.
It took until the 13th over to make the breakthrough, then Durham suddenly took four wickets in five overs and had Somerset rocking on 43 for four.
Marcus Trescothick never looked comfortable and scored most of his 17 runs off the edge before he shaped to run Onions behind square on the off side and chopped on.
South African Test batsman Alviro Petersen stroked a couple of fine shots before he played back defensively to a good ball from Rushworth and edged low to Borthwick at second slip.
In the next over Onions nipped one back to take out Jones’ middle stump and something similar had James Hildreth lbw for a duck.
Johann Myburgh could have been run out without scoring. He pushed to cover and was well down the pitch when Craig Kieswetter sent him back.
After the throw went to backward square leg they decided on a run and Myburgh would have gone had the shy at the non-striker’s end hit the stumps. Instead he profited from four overthrows and went on to make 22 before Jamie Harrison had him lbw with an in-swinger.
Durham were convinced they had Trego caught behind next ball and as he continued to live dangerously they needed to be patient after lunch as he rode his luck and 44 runs were added in the first five overs.
He pulled Rushworth for six and edged Onions just wide of second slip on his way to 48 off 41 balls before showing his discontent when given out by Michael Gough.
It was a full ball slanted into him by Onions and the only possible reason to dispute the decision was that he had nicked it.
Trego had put on 79 in 12 overs with Kieswetter and his exit brought in Nick Compton at 163 for six following a neck spasm. Somerset really could have done with him playing the Jennings role at the top of the order.
Kieswetter was lbw on the front foot to Rushworth in the next over and the same bowler gained two more verdicts before Compton was last out, lbw to Arshad after making six in ten overs.
Compton will want to play a much bigger role in the second innings, but surely noone can play as well as Joe Root in guiding Yorkshire home last year.
At Emirates Durham ICG.
Overnight: Durham 308 (K K Jennings 80; L Gregory 4-59).
Somerset First Innings
M E Trescothick b Onions ...................17
C R Jones b Onions ............................ 7
A N Petersen c Borthwick b Rushworth 11
J C Hildreth lbw b Onions .................... 0
C Kieswetter c Mustard b Rushworth ..35
J G Myburgh lbw b Harrison ................22
P D Trego lbw b Onions .......................48
N R Compton lbw b Arshad ................. 6
L Gregory lbw b Rushworth ................12
C A Meschede lbw b Rushworth ......... 4
J Overton not out .............................. 0
Extras (b1 lb9 nb13 pens 0) ........23
Total (50.1 overs) .........................185
Fall: 1-24 2-39 3-39 4-43 5-84 6-163 7-163
Onions 18-5-65-4. Rushworth 17-6-52-4. Harrison
8-2-28-1. Arshad 6.1-0-28-1. Jennings 1-
Durham Second Innings Close
M D Stoneman lbw b Gregory ............. 6
K K Jennings c Trescothick b Myburgh 41
S G Borthwick c Jones b Trego ............ 8
M J Richardson c Gregory b Overton ...32
P Mustard c Kieswetter b Trego ...........14
P D Collingwood not out ....................23
G R Breese lbw b Trego ....................... 0
Arshad c Hildreth b Gregory ............... 1
J Harrison not out .............................16
Extras (w1 nb10 pens 0)..............11
Total 7 wkts (49 overs).................152
Fall: 1-16 2-31 3-88 4-109 5-123 6-123 7-
To Bat: G Onions, C Rushworth.
Gregory 15-1-55-2. Trego 18-8-46-3. Overton
10-1-34-1. Hildreth 1-0-4-0. Myburgh 5-1-13-1.