Day Two
Nottinghamshire v Durham
LV County Championship

DURHAM gave Nottinghamshire a lesson in attritional cricket yesterday as Will Smith and Paul Collingwood proved as difficult to remove as Abu Qatada.

Coming together shortly after lunch at Trent Bridge with the score on 148 for five in reply to 320, they dug in for dear life and added 115 in 47 overs.

Smith emerged from his lean run to score his 12th first-class century for Durham as he batted all day to finish on 119 out of 297 for six.

The contrast between the sides was most marked in the afternoon.

Whereas Nottinghamshire's gung-ho approach had seen them add 134 in the middle session on the first day, Durham scored 66. And that included a little flurry just before tea as the graft began to bear fruit.

Smith's previous six innings on the ground where he began his first-class career had yielded a total of 37 runs and his start this season had been equally unproductive.

But after being moved up from No 3 to open the innings he was at his most obdurate in taking 270 balls to reach his century.

The opening pair brought to mind the tortoise and the hare as Mark Stoneman had raced to 30 in five overs, while Smith had made only three in 15 overs before an off drive off Luke Fletcher gave him the first of his 16 fours.

Smith, on three overnight, scored 40 in the morning, 30 in the afternoon and 46 in the evening session.

While doubtless concentrating furiously, Collingwood gave the impression of being Mr Nonchalant when he first went in, casually watching anything wide of off stump pass by and contemptuously pulling a Chris Broad long hop for four.

There had been much interest in whether Broad would appear after departing with what was described as "a tight groin" when he conceded 20 runs in three overs on the first evening.

Although he bowled only five overs yesterday morning, he looked much better and he put in a big effort when the new ball was taken after tea.

In the seventh over of his spell he twice beat Collingwood, who then edged a drive to be caught behind for 64 shortly before Broad retired to the pavilion.

When Swann came on for his first bowl since elbow surgery Smith defended his first ten balls then dispatched a leg-side full toss to the boundary.

When he managed to work Swann either side of the short mid-wicket there were men supposedly saving the single. But in trying to keep his score moving, Smith took three sharp singles to mid-on during the morning and would have been run out off the third had the shy hit the stumps. That was the only chance he gave.

Other than his 100 at Taunton, Smith didn't reach 50 last season prior to being dropped for the last two games. And before this game his aggregate for this season was 62 from six innings.

Scott Borthwick was sent in at four but never looked comfortable against some quality bowling, edging Ajmal Shahzad just over the slips on his way to 16 before he played back and edged Luke Fletcher to Chris Read.

Dale Benkenstein looked back in form after scoring 100 runs over his two innings against Yorkshire, driving Swann for a straight six on his way to 27 off 35 balls. But he was out two overs before lunch when medium pacer Steven Mullaney nipped one back to have him lbw.

Ben Stokes fell for 11, lobbing a return catch to Broad off the leading edge when trying to turn him to leg off the back foot.

With a substantial lead needed as the spin of Swann and Samit Patel could be difficult to counter in the second innings, it was essential that Smith and Phil Mustard should see out the final 12 overs.

Mustard will resume on 15 and with Gareth Breese and the useful Mark Wood to come Durham have the chance to cash in on Smith's diligence.

Smith said: "The pitch is fairly flat so I just tried to play nice and straight and backed my judgement. I was always confident that if I stuck around someone would stay with me.

"My job is to bat as long as I can, but at the top of the order you have to take the rough with the smooth. Last year we seemed to play on difficult pitches most of the season and when we were on a good one I probably put too much pressure on myself.

"With experience you get to know your game and learn to stay within your own little bubble, so I'm hoping my best years are still ahead of me.

"There's still a lot of work to do but if we can get a hundred or so ahead that would be very useful."


Nottinghamshire v Durham
At Trent Bridge.
Overnight: Nottinghamshire 320 (J W A Taylor
97, S J Mullaney 80).Durham 34-1.
Durham First Innings Close
W R Smith not out ............................119
C Rushworth c Read b Shahzad ..........12
S G Borthwick c Read b Fletcher ..........16
D M Benkenstein lbw b Mullaney .........27
B A Stokes c & b Broad ......................11
P D Collingwood c Read b Broad .........64
P Mustard not out .............................15
Extras (b1 lb2 ) ..........................3
Total 6 wkts (106 overs).........297
Fall: 1-34 2-46 3-86 4-124 5-148 6-263
Bowling: Broad 21-3-65-2. Fletcher 25-8-
72-1. Shahzad 21-4-57-2. Swann 20-5-44-
0. Mullaney 11-2-35-1. S R Patel 8-2-21-0.