Good progress

First published in Sport The Northern Echo: Photograph of the Author by

IT was a day for batting at Taunton and Mark Stoneman and Michael Richardson were clearly under orders not to undo the hard work they put in to get Durham into a strong position. The stand of 161 ended when Stoneman fell for 97, but Richardson was still there at lunch on 89 with the total on 217 for three, a lead of 138.

The addition of only 51 runs in the first 21 overs indicated that no risks were to be taken with Scott Borthwick not expected to bat after chipping a bone in a finger on his right hand.

He now has injuries to the two middle fingers, which will not be good news for Durham when they attempt to bowl out Somerset in their second innings. Glorious weather helped to restore most of the customary benign nature to the Taunton track, although both overnight batsmen played and missed several times.

Other than a square drive for four off Peter Trego, Richardson barely played a shot in anger in the first hour. But he has become a reassuringly solid presence in the middle order.

Stoneman was almost bowled on 87 when he shouldered arms to a ball from left-arm spinner George Dockrell which turned and narrowly missed off stump.

Opening up finally proved Stoneman’s downfall as he had just pulled Craig Overton for six and driven him for two when he attempted to hook a leg-side bouncer and gloved a catch to the diving Craig Kieswetter.

Gordon Muchall was promoted to No 4 and made his way confidently to 14 before he sat back to cut a ball from Dockrell which bounced more than he expected and he lobbed a simple catch to backward point. Phil Mustard was on four at lunch.

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