AFTER being obliged to bat at No 8 following a neck spasm in the first innings, Nick Compton again proved a pain in the neck for Durham yesterday.
After failing to take the final wicket at Northampton last week, the champions again had to settle for a draw in their home match against Somerset after Compton made an unbeaten century.
Few batsmen relish facing Graham Onions at the Emirates Durham ICG, but the home spearhead appears to hold no fears for Compton, who claims to average around 200 against him.
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Onions removed the ex-Middlesex man for 56 at Lord’s when they first met in 2006, only for Compton to make 190 after his side followed on.
He also made 254 not out for Somerset at Chester-le-Street two years ago and 166 against Durham at Taunton last year, and yesterday he was in no obvious discomfort after dosing up on pain-killers.
Durham’s hopes rose when Usman Arshad took two wickets in an excellent nine-over afternoon spell which cost only 15 runs.
But at 92 for four Craig Kieswetter joined Compton and a chance missed by the usually reliable Scott Borthwick at second slip with the wicketkeeper on nine proved costly.
The fifth-wicket pair shared an unbroken stand of 154 before hands were shaken on the draw with 91 runs needed off nine overs.
Compton’s was a chanceless innings of high class. He was very solid in defence and drove nicely through the covers, particularly off Onions.
Already 275 ahead, despite the third day’s washout, Durham added 61 in 11 overs in the morning before declaring on 213 for nine to set a target of 337 in 82 overs.
Although the pitch had yielded 17 wickets on the second day, Durham skipper Paul Collingwood advanced from 23 to 52 not out before declaring and knew the surface was not going to offer his seamers as much assistance.
Onions remained wicketless, although he certainly tested Marcus Trescothick in his first few overs.
The Somerset captain fell for five, lbw to Chris Rushworth, in the eighth over, at which point Compton strode out after being absent from the ground during Tuesday’s wash-out, when he was reported to be still suffering.
He also saw Chris Jones become the 16th lbw victim of the match before lunch, again to Rushworth, but Arshad was the only bowler who really threatened afterwards.
He had Alviro Petersen caught by Borthwick for 23 and two overs later James Hildreth departed for one when he edged a drive to Phil Mustard.
Still bowling accurately at a brisk pace in his second spell, Arshad pleaded for an lbw verdict with Compton on 81, but the ball had struck him a little too high.
The dangerous Kieswetter reached a restrained 50 off 100 balls, but it seemed the Somerset pair might go for it when they needed 140 off 20 overs.
Only 20 came off the next five, but Kieswetter still seemed to fancy it when he suddenly smashed two sixes in an over off Gareth Breese.
But with Compton going sedately to his hundred off 208 balls they decided the target was beyond them.
Jamie Harrison was the day’s first lbw victim, falling to Lewis Gregory for 24 after a useful stand of 47 with Collingwood.
The captain used the cut to good effect in keeping the score moving while Onions went for bigger shots and holed out at deep mid-on for 11.
A dab to third man for two took Collingwood to an 80-ball half-century and he was on 52 when he declared.
Durham v Somerset
At Emirates Durham ICG
Overnight: Somerset 185 (C Rushworth 4-
52, G Onions 4-65). Durham 308(K K
Jennings 80; L Gregory 4-59) and 152-7.
Durham Second Innings
P D Collingwood not out ........................ 52
J Harrison lbw b Gregory ....................... 24
G Onions c Compton b Gregory ............ 11
C Rushworth not out .............................. ..5
Extras (w3 nb16 pens 0)...........19
Total 9 wkts dec (61 overs).....213
Fall: 1-16 2-31 3-88 4-109 5-123 6-123 7-
124 8-171 9-199
Total Bonus Pts: Durham 6 Somerset 3
Bowling: Gregory 21-1-91-4. Trego 22-8-
60-3. Overton 12-1-45-1. Hildreth 1-0-4-0.
Somerset Second Innings
M E Trescothick lbw b Rushworth ......... ..5
C R Jones lbw b Rushworth .................. 24
N R Compton not out ............................100
A N Petersen c Borthwick b Arshad ...... 23
J C Hildreth c Mustard b Arshad ............ ..1
C Kieswetter not out .............................. 78
Extras (b4 lb7 nb4 pens 0) .......15
Total 4 wkts (73 overs)............246
Fall: 1-17 2-41 3-88 4-92
Did Not Bat: C A J Meschede, J G Myburgh,
P D Trego, L Gregory, J Overton.
Total Bonus Pts: Durham 6 Somerset 3
Bowling: Onions 18-2-73-0. Rushworth 15-
4-33-2. Harrison 12-1-44-0. Arshad 15-4-
28-2. Borthwick 8-0-38-0. Collingwood 3-2-
3-0. Breese 2-0-16-0.
Durham (11pts) drew with Somerset (8pts)