Under fire

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

DURHAM took the two wickets they wanted in the first hour, only for the change bowlers to come under fire from Steven Croft and Jos Buttler.

Under clear skies the pitch looked flat and so did Ben Stokes, whose six overs cost 34 runs. And despite the fortunate dismissal of Ashwell Prince, Paul Coughlin was similarly expensive as his championship debut became less dreamy.

Prince was triggered at High Noon, leaving Lancashire on 74 for four, but they fired all the bullets after that, reaching lunch on 165 for four, needing a further 175 to win.

Durham made the perfect start when a superb ball by Chris Rushworth had Usman Khawaja caught behind in the third over without addition to his ten runs.

Rushworth had three for 19 in 13 overs before Prince hit him wide of mid on for four and John Hastings helped to keep it tight without really threatening to take wickets.

Only 17 had been added in 10.5 overs when Coughlin replaced Hastings and conceded nine in his first over. But in his second a leg-side ball took a deflection off Prince on its way to Phil Mustard.

The South African left-hander was given out, much to his evident disgust. He probably felt he had missed the boat in good batting conditions, on which the fifth-wicket pair soon capitalised.

When Scott Borthwick replaced Coughlin a long hop in his second over was flat-batted for a straight six by Buttler, who drove the next ball over extra cover.

Croft drove a Borthwick full toss for his seventh four to reach 50 off 66 balls. He was on 55 at lunch with Butler, looking in excellent touch, on 46. Borthwick’s four overs had cost 30.

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