DURHAM will again be without their top Twenty20 run scorer Calum MacLeod when they attempt to complete a hat-trick of victories at home to Nottinghamshire this evening.
Scotland are playing the last of their three 50-over matches against the Netherlands and are keen to win the series after MacLeod’s 145 helped to level it at 1-1 on Wednesday.
“If Scotland were 2-0 up we could probably have had him back,” said Durham coach Jon Lewis. “They have a new coach who wants to get to know his players and we are trying to keep a good relationship with them as we have another of their players in Gavin Main.”
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While Durham remain just outside the top four with five games left in the NatWest T20 Blast, Nottinghamshire have won their last three games to climb to third place in the north group.
They have been forced into one change from the side which beat Yorkshire at Trent Bridge in their last outing, Sam Wood returning to the team in place of Phil Jaques, whose short-term deal with the Outlaws ended this week. Steven Mullaney will join England T20 specialist Alex Hales at the top of the order.
Needing to hit a four to win off the last ball, Wood drove a catch to long-on when the sides met at Trent Bridge, Durham’s total of 132 surprisingly proving enough.
Chris Rushworth conceded only five off the final over.
After doing an even better job of keeping Yorkshire below a very reachable target on Wednesday, Durham have named the same squad but will consider bringing in either Keaton Jennings or Paul Coughlin.
Usman Arshad is vulnerable after having a poor game at Headingley and Lewis admitted that he may be a little low on confidence following his ECB reprimand for bowling an accidental beamer against Leicestershire.
“We’ll have a chat with him and see how is,” said the coach, who will also be assessing Graham Onions and Mark Wood over the weekend.
Both took a couple of wickets on the final day of the Second X1 Championship match against Glamorgan at Middlesbrough and Lewis said: “Wood probably has a better chance of being fit for the championship game starting at Headingley on Monday.
“Onions bowled on all three days at Middlesbrough and seemed OK, but as he’s had a back problem we need to be careful.
“We’ll see how he reacts over the next couple of days.”
n For the second time in four days, Glamorgan’s Kieran Bull condemned Durham’s second XI to defeat at Middlesbrough.
After taking five wickets when the sides met in a oneday match on Monday, the 19-year-old off-spinner from Haverfordwest recorded eight for 73 to bowl out Durham for 219 in their second innings, 38 short of their victory target.
Durham needed 71 in the final session with five wickets standing, but Bull removed top-scorer Rammy Singh (55) then claimed the four remaining wickets to leave Graham Onions stranded on 17.
Graham Clark made his second half-century of the match before he was caught by Bull, who had a hand in all but one of the wickets.