A day of memories, from the fields of war and sport, ended for Durham with a best-forgotten performance at Edgbaston in the first leg of a two-day double-header in the Midlands.
Durham were perhaps 20 short of a par score in making 146 for seven and they move on to Worcester today (Saturday) with something to prove after a six-wicket defeat by Warwickshire.
It was on 6 June 1994 that Brian Lara marked the 50th anniversary of the D-Day landings with his world record 501 not out for Warwickshire in a championship match in which it was Durham’s lot to be cast in the role of ball-fetchers.
Brian Hunt, as ever, was one of the scorers, faithfully recording the dots (not many of these) and boundaries (62 fours and 10 sixes) as one of the great West Indian batsmen scaled a new peak.
Twenty years on he was still at his post last night, logging proceedings until Laurie Evans smashed the first ball of the last over for the winning boundary.
T20 is a concept alien to Lara and players of his generation. Even less would he recognise the Warwickshire he knew masquerading – for the purposes of this competition – as Birmingham Bears.
Not that the marketing ploy had a huge impact on a turnout of perhaps 6,000 on a balmy summer’s evening.
For Durham this was a reminder that posting totals below 150 is no way to win matches in the short-haul format. They got away with it against Notts but not against Lancashire and now Warwickshire.
Having lost the toss, their batting here lacked proper shape or momentum after the openers had got themselves out, Mark Stoneman when chancing a run to Shoaib Malik at mid-off and Phil Mustard with a mistimed pull.
Calum MacLeod briefly promised something special against his former county. In two years with Warwickshire he never played in a first-team match at Edgbaston. Thus his 27 from 26 balls represented a debut of sorts at the Birmingham Test venue.
The Scot looked comfortable until he was stumped, charging at Jeetan Patel in the Kiwi off-spinner’s second over.
With a halfway score of 62 for three, Durham urgently needed a rapid acceleration but as soon as Scott Borthwick and Paul Collingwood broke free with mid-wicket sixes, the side crumpled into a mid-innings crisis.
Three wickets went in four balls and one of these was called a wide. First Collingwood found deep mid-wicket off Boyd Rankin and then the giant bowler ran out Borthwick with a swift pick-up in his follow-through.
When Patel followed that by bowling a tentative Ben Stokes, it was only some serious clubbing by John Hastings that kept Durham in contention. The Australian cracked two sixes in a 28-ball knock of 36 and his partnership with Gordon Muchall yielded 56 from seven overs.
Some of the profit immediately disappeared, with William Porterfield taking 10 runs off from two balls in Hastings’ first over.
The Ireland captain’s quick-fire start ended with a juggling catch by MacLeod, running round from mid-off, but Colingwood scuffed a chance to run out Varun Chopra during a stand of 57 with Jonathon Webb.
Rookie Webb escaped from a nervous start, pressing on into double figures for the first time in three T20 innings when despatching Borthwick’s first two balls for six and four.
This helped Warwickshire academy prospect to 28 before finding Borthwick at backward point, but Chopra, while never entirely fluent, kept Warwickshire on track until he played on to Usman Arshad after making 51.
Though Durham fought hard in the closing overs, MacLeod taking a second catch to remove Malik for 28, another missed chance, Stoneman dropping Laurie Evans at extra cover, was decisive.
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