LONDON is the latest venue and if there wasn't already a big enough buzz in this throbbing city our visit was guaranteed to add to the entertainment. Durham will always provide the drama and excitement that spectators wish for. Very seldom do we take part in a boring draw and this four-day game at the Oval has the makings of another thriller.

The cast had to be altered slightly as Graham Onions has been trying to roar with the Lions and Gareth Breese has picked up a niggling injury after he bowled the equivalent of half a season of one-day overs in his great championship comeback game at Trent Bridge.

He is one of the most remarkable cricketers I have played with as he needs very little match preparation and will fit into the side in any form of cricket and make match-winning contributions.

It shows how quickly things can change as he had just won back his place after playing hardly any championship cricket during Ian Blackwell's three years with us. Now he is been upstaged by a kid who took five wickets on his debut, although as Mark Wood found last season it's no guarantee of selection for the next match. Gareth has been a great servant to the club and I don't think we've seen the last of him as a four-day cricketer.

Injuries and representative calls create natural opportunities for our budding talent and the quality of these cricketers is vital for Durham to continue our path in first division cricket and maintain our success. Mark Wood is featuring regularly and the debuts of the two Ryans, Pringle and Buckley, have given us more options as a team in one-day and four-day cricket in dry conditions.

We musn't forget Ben Stokes is only 22 and Scott Borthwick, 23. I find it fascinating how these youngsters look so comfortable making the step up to county cricket, which is a sign of good temperament and a good grounding by academy coaches Ali Maiden and John Windows, plus second team coach Jon Lewis.

Other than Sidebottom, I can't think of too many first-class cricketers called Ryan, but suddenly we have two and both are off-spinners. Other than that, they are totally different. Pringle looks like he could strike fear into the hearts of the Aussie rugby players if he were selected for the Lions tour. He is a big lad who bowls the ball hard into the pitch and hurts the cricket ball when he has a bat in his hand.

Buckley is an old-fashioned off-spinner who uses drift, changes of pace, flight and spin to deceive the batsmen and shapes up technically correct with the bat. These personal styles and characteristics allow them to fit naturally into the formats of the game they have been initially selected for, but there is no reason why they can't play all formats in the future.

I suspect some captains might have taken Buckley off after he conceded 14 runs in his first two overs. But that's no way to build confidence and his four for four in 16 balls was a terrific reward for Colly for showing such faith in him by keeping him on all afternoon.

I understand Buckley is the third player to take a five-for on his first-class debut for Durham. John Wood did it at Southampton in 1992, when his first victim was David Gower, and Liam Plunkett did it at Headingley when he was 18.

I was disappointed that the rain came down in the YB 40 match on Thursday evening as we were brilliant with the ball and in the field and felt 216 was very gettable with the easy-paced pitch and the short boundary.

As I write, we are halfway through the four-day contest and we have a game on our hands. The pitch isn't getting any easier. The Oval is a fabulous ground and it's supposed to have the biggest square in the world, so it's surprising we are playing on a pitch which has already been used for a one-day game. It suggests Surrey are already worried after three draws have left them near the foot of the table. They obviously want a result and chasing down a total in the last innings will be a challenge for us. Fasten your seatbelts for another Durham roller-coaster ride and hopefully we can finish a successful performance in London. It certainly isn't boring.