MARK Wood, who has taken over from Steve Harmison as the new Ashington Express, hit full throttle to bowl Durham back into the game at Taunton yesterday by taking five for 37.

Since returning from a side injury Wood has seen first Yorkshire then Sussex top 500 against Durham and admitted he feared the same again on a traditionally run-laden track.

“I probably needed the first game and a half to get back up to speed,”

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he said. “We expected it to be flat here, but the pitch has good pace and carry, which suited me.

“The plan was to bowl me in short, sharp bursts and I enjoyed bowling here more than coming up the hill at Hove.

“A lot of the runs I conceded went to third man and there were also four overthrows off me, so other than I haven’t gone for too many. You have to savour these good days.

“Conditions have changed here according to the cloud cover. The ball swung this morning, but then it got wet. We did better when it dried out after lunch, when Chris Rushworth and I took three quick wickets.”

An unbroken stand of 102 between Mark Stoneman and Michael Richardson left Durham 42 ahead with nine wickets standing as they seek to end a run of four draws.

“That partnership was top drawer – it was a really gutsy effort,” said Wood. “Once you get a stand going batting starts to look easier and that will be the key for us tomorrow.”