IF Durham thought a home friendly against Sri Lanka A would help them emerge from the doldrums they were mistaken as seamer Panagamuwa Gamage took a hat-trick this morning.
He should have had four wickets in four balls, but Niroshan Dickwella dropped a regulation chance offered by fellow wicketkeeper Stuart Poynter, who proceeded to lead a revival from 46 for five.
Gamage, considerably taller than most of his colleagues, had not looked at all threatening until Scott Borthwick carelessly guided a catch to second slip in the ninth over.
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It was in his next over that Gamage took his hat-trick, starting when Michael Richardson edged a drive to Dickwella.
Ryan Pringle shuffled across and was lbw, repeating the first-ball dismissal he suffered in his last appearance at Riverside in the Twenty20 match against Yorkshire.
Gordon Muchall played forward and was also lbw, just as he has been in his last four championship innings.
Poynter, making his first team debut, went for his shots and made 36 in a stand of 54 with Keaton Jennings before he was bowled when left-arm spinner Sachith Pathirana turned one past his forward defensive shot.
Jennings had begun very fluently, hitting three fours in the first five balls he faced. But he had to settle into his more watchful mode once wickets began to tumble.
He was drafted into the side after Calum MacLeod suffered a leg injury in Friday night’s Twenty20 defeat at Leicester. The injury will be assessed tomorrow.