SCOTT Borthwick today became the first Englishman to score a double century for Durham on their home ground.
Gordon Muchall (Canterbury), John Morris (Edgbaston), Will Smith (Guildford) and Jon Lewis (Oxford) achieved the feat away from home and all the other doubles, bar one by Shivnarine Chanderpaul, have been by Australians.
Michael Di Venuto passed 200 three times at Riverside but until today Martin Love was the only other batsman to do it for Durham on home soil.
Resuming on 164 against Middlesex, 24-year-old Borthwick’s closest shave was to the first ball of the day. There was a confident appeal for lbw from Tim Murtagh and the ball looked on course for the stumps, but a run was awarded, indicating the batsman had edged it on to his pad.
There was a whip behind square for four and a lovely cover drive off Steve Finn, otherwise Borthwick progressed sedately to 198, when he almost gave Toby Roland-Jones a return catch.
It was 95 minutes into the day’s play when Borthwick edged left-arm spinner Ravi Patel wide of slip for the two runs which took him to 200 off 293 balls.
Trying to accelerate just before lunch, he skied a catch to mid-wicket to depart for 216, leaving Durham on 525 for eight at the break, having scored 114 in the session compared with 140 on the first morning.
Nightwatchman Mark Wood missed his chance to show he can bat, making nine before pulling a catch straight to mid-wicket.
Paul Collingwood tried to keep the score moving, pulling Finn for six on his way to 36 before he shaped to pull Toby Roland-Jones and lobbed a catch to mid-on.
After batting a four when he made 158 not out at Trent Bridge last week, Muchall found himself at No 8. With the cloud cover thickening the ball was starting to nip around and he fell lbw to Roland-Jones for one.
The same bowler beat both Borthwick and Phil Mustard in his next over and it was beginning to look like a good time for Durham to bowl.
There were hints of a lunchtime declaration when 15 were taken off the next over from Patel, then Borthwick’s exit left John Hastings to face four balls on his debut. In trying to withdraw his bat from the third he edged it for four.