RACHIN RAVINDRA produced a debut to remember for Durham, scoring a career-best 178 not out as the home side piled on the runs on day one against Worcestershire in their LV= Insurance County Championship Division Two clash.

The New Zealander was only signed by Durham for one match after Keegan Petersen’s premature departure, but certainly made an impression for the North-East outfit with a sublime unbeaten hundred, his fourth in first-class cricket.

He became the first overseas player since Tom Latham to score a century on debut for Durham, sharing a mammoth stand of 230 with Scott Borthwick, who notched 96, for the second wicket. Ravindra was there at the close alongside Jonathan Bushnell, unbeaten on his debut on 61, with the hosts positioned on 375 for three after the first day at Seat Unique Riverside.

Durham won the toss and opted to bat first, where Michael Jones and debutant Ravindra made a measured start against the new ball. Jones scored four boundaries to kick start his innings of 21, but he was ruffled by Charlie Morris’ fifth over before edging behind to Gareth Roderick.

Borthwick joined Ravindra, and the two left-handers settled in for the morning session, offering the Worcestershire bowlers little encouragement. Ravindra brought up the fifty partnership for the second wicket with an elegant glance through the leg-side, and pushed the score past 100 at lunch to end a positive session for the home side.

The New Zealander maintained his poise after the break and deployed the glance again to score his 10th boundary, bringing up his half-century from 103 deliveries. Borthwick was finding life just as simple as his new team-mate, registering his fifth fifty of the term working the ball down to the third-man boundary to reach the milestone.

Durham put their foot on the accelerator courtesy of Ravindra, who continued to play with freedom against both pace and spin. The left-hander became the first Durham overseas player since his compatriot Latham in 2017 to score a century on debut, producing a sublime drive down the ground before raising the bat.

Borthwick seemed destined to join Ravindra in reaching three figures, but he fell agonisingly short when he was pinned lbw for 96 by Josh Baker attempting a sweep.

The Durham skipper’s disappointment was evident as he made a slow trudge off the pitch after failing to fully capitalise on a fine knock and good batting wicket.

David Bedingham also failed to make an impression falling for only four, but Ravindra kept pushing on alongside Bushnell, who was making his first-class bow.

Ravindra worked past his previous career best of 144 and notched his maiden score of 150 in 222 balls, remaining flawless in the middle. Bushnell continued a fine day for the home side by marking his debut with his maiden fifty, punching a cover drive off the back foot to the fence.

And, there was time for the two players to reach the century partnership for the fifth wicket before the close, cementing a dominant position for the hosts.

"It was good to go out there and bat for the whole day," said Ravindra. "The guys have been supportive since I've come in for the game, and I was able to go out there and express myself. The welcome from the lads has allowed me to go out there and perform well.

"I was pleased for Jonathan Bushnell, he went about his business in a calm manner and had a presence about him. That was awesome for a guy on debut, hopefully he can push on tomorrow.

"I was lucky that I was able to bat out the day, I just like to take it ball-by-ball. I know the Dukes' ball does a little bit, so I was trying to be patient and take it slowly at first. It was nice that it clicked out there, but they bowled well. We were talking about the ebbs and flows of four-day cricket, and I'll take it on the day, but there's a long way to go in the game."

Ravindra revealed that his surprise signing by Durham came completely out of the blue.

"I was seeing a couple of mates in Dublin when I got the call to play for Durham," he added. "I thought it would be a perfect opportunity, it has always been a dream of mine to play in the County Championship.

"It's been good to play with a great bunch of lads. As soon as the opportunity came up I was raring to go."