DURHAM will be hugely grateful for the return of Ben Stokes in the County Championship match starting at Trent Bridge on Sunday after running into an injury crisis yesterday.
With Marcus Trescothick in vintage form in hammering 133 off 129 balls, Durham offered less resistance than the weather on the final day at Taunton.
With Scott Borthwick, Mark Wood and Jamie Harrison joining Graham Onions and Usman Arshad on the casualty list, Durham will face the dilemma of picking the two fittest of their struggling quartet of seamers to support Chris Rushworth and Stokes.
They are also wary of pushing Stokes too hard after his recovery from a broken wrist, with coach Jon Lewis saying: “Fully fit he does the third seamer’s job for us, but he’s more likely to be the fourth seamer in his first game back.
“When things are not going brilliantly it’s great to have guys like him. He’s all about winning – that’s his mentality in everything he does.
“The injury has been frustrating for him, but he’s done incredibly well and deserves a lot of credit for the way he has gone through his rehab.”
In Borthwick’s absence, off-spinner Ryan Pringle will be given another opportunity following his debut against Somerset, in which he had the misfortune to come up against Trescothick in full cry.
Reports of the 38-year-old master blaster’s demise are greatly exaggerated. Following his golden duck in the first innings, when lack of foot movement heightened rumours that he was over the hill, he bludgeoned a 110-ball century.
Somerset were 168 for one, still 80 short of victory, when the downpour arrived after 40 minutes’ play. Within 20 minutes the ground was awash, but play resumed at 3.45 and in his haste to get the job done Trescothick hit Rushworth for three sixes before holing out at long-off to give Pringle his second wicket.
The maiden first-class scalp for the off-spinner was Nick Compton, who was lbw for a duck playing across the line to the fourth ball after the restart.
With only 34 needed when Trescothick was out, Alviro Petersen and James Hildreth comfortably picked off the runs, with Pringle dropping short too often.
Resuming in the morning on 60, Trescothick took only until the day’s ninth over to complete his first home championship hundred since September, 2012. Johann Myburgh had added seven runs to reach 55 at that point.
Pringle bowled the day’s first over and after Myburgh took a single Trescothick drove a full toss to the extra cover boundary. The next ball was a half volley, which disappeared to the same place.
Pringle went close to bowling Trescothick when he took a breather by shouldering arms on 67, then the left-hander sliced Rushworth just out of gully’s reach.
He skilfully flipped a straight ball from Rushworth to fine leg before reverting to overdrive mode by blasting Pringle for six over cover.
After also lofting Rushworth over the packed off-side field he cut Pringle for his 18th four to complete his hundred.
A mix-up resulted in Myburgh being run out with the total on 164, then three balls later Compton lost his middle stump to a rare Rushworth no-ball, which yorked him.
Then the rain arrived, but not in sufficient quantities to save Durham from their first defeat of the season, from which they picked up only three points to remain next to the bottom of division one.
Their remaining 11 championship games will all be on Test grounds and as they have enjoyed plenty of success at Trent Bridge in recent years it would be a good place to start winning.
Somerset v Durham
Overnight: Durham 155 (S G Borthwick
59; A C Thomas 5-41) and 326 (M
JRichardson 116, M D Stoneman
97; C Overton 5-63). Somerset 234
(A NPetersen 78; M A Wood 5-37,
C Rushworth 4-70) and 112-0 (M E
Somerset Second Innings
M E Trescothick c Muchall b Pringle.. 133
J G Myburgh run out..............................55
N R Compton lbw b Pringle................... 0
A N Petersen not out .............................36
J C Hildreth not out................................ 11
Extras (b4 lb9 nb2 pens 0) 15
Total 3 wkts (45.3 overs). 250
Fall: 1-165 2-173 3-214
Did Not Bat: C Kieswetter, C Overton, P
D Trego, A C Thomas, G H Dockrell, J
Total Bonus Pts: Somerset 4 Durham 3
Bowling: Rushworth 17-5-85-0.
Harrison 5-0-26-0. Wood 4-0-22-0.
Pringle 17.3-1-94-2. Collingwood 2-0-
Somerset (20pts) beat Durham (3pts) by 7 wkts