CROWDS returned to Emirates Riverside for the first time in 611 days yesterday and were entertained with 15 wickets falling on day one of Durham’s LV= Insurance County Championship game against Essex.

The Essex innings had looked in a strong place following Michael Pepper’s maiden first class fifty but a collapse that saw them lose six wickets for just three runs appeared to give Durham the upper hand.

But Essex came back strongly as their bowling trio of Peter Siddle, Sam Cook and Jamie Porter picked up five wickets between them to leave Durham struggling on 58 for six, trailing by 124 runs, at the close of play.

Scott Borthwick won the toss for Durham and chose to send Essex into bat and was rewarded as Chris Rushworth struck to remove Alastair Cook for just two runs. Nick Browne soon followed Cook back to the pavilion as he was bowled for 23 looking to drive Matthew Potts down the ground.

Tom Westley was the next man to go, the Essex skipper perhaps harshly given lbw off the bowling of Ben Raine for a 20-ball duck. The Essex innings was steadied however by Pepper and Paul Walter, the pair added fifty together to take Essex to lunch.

After the break, Walter was bowled by Raine for 28, the Durham bowler nipping one through the gate. Ryan ten Doeschate made eight before he was sent on his way, lbw to Borthwick attempting to paddle the ball round the corner. Pepper was removed when Rushworth was re-entered the attack and pinned him leg before wicket on 92, just short of a maiden hundred.

The wickets then fell quickly, Raine claimed the wicket of Harmer for one before Rushworth had Adam Wheater caught by Ned Eckersley for eight. Durham’s leading wicket taker then claimed another victim as removed Sam Cook for a duck. Raine wrapped up the Essex innings, splitting Peter Siddle’s stumps for one. The visitors all out for 182 at tea.

Durham’s innings got off to a stuttering start as Jamie Porter claimed the wicket of Alex Lees for a duck, followed by Borthwick, stuck leg before by Cook for eight.

Peter Siddle trapped fellow Australian Cameron Bancroft lbw for 20 and Michael Jones could only add four before he left a straight ball from Cook. It went from bad to worse for Durham as Jack Burnham fell to Siddle for two. David Bedingham fell to the final ball of the day, bowled by Cook for ten.