THERE were hints of midsummer madness as pink ball cricket came to Chester-le-Street yesterday.

Already rocked by news that Tom Latham is injured, Durham slumped from 12 without loss to 18 for five against Worcestershire, who responded by slogging at the same stage of their reply.

In a calculated gamble to counter the ball when at its most effective, the visitors sent in former Durham player John Hastings at No 3, followed by skipper Joe Leach, normally a No 9.

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Both cleared the rope, but there was little method in their madness and they failed to do lasting damage, leaving the more measured approach of Brett D'Oliveira and Joe Clarke to take Worcestershire to 213 for four in reply to Durham's 197.

The launch of day-night cricket in the county championship was greeted by gloomy weather, which necessitated the use of floodlights from the 2pm start when they might not have been needed at all had it been a clear evening in cricket's northern outpost.

The fact that Ben Stokes was out for a duck to crown Durham's collapse probably didn't help in attracting an influx of fans willing to pay the reduced rate of £5 after 5pm.

With around 900 already in the ground, only 260 took advantage of an offer which will remain in place for the rest of the match.

Latham, the New Zealand Test opener, was expected to make his debut. But a scan has revealed a suspected stress fracture in a foot on the same day that the man he was supposed to be replacing, Stephen Cook, was left out of the South African Test squad.

Durham coach Jon Lewis said: “We knew Tom had an injury but thought he would be OK for this match. It now looks like he will be out for two or three weeks, but we won't be bringing Stephen back. We would have to find a way to pay him.

“The pink ball didn't swing any more than the red. The seam is quite coarse and nylony so it gripped the pitch more when it was new and that created the early movement.

“They used the conditions well and we perhaps had a couple of poor shots and one call which didn't go our way.”