LED by Scott Borthwick and Mark Stoneman, Durham's home-grown young bucks proved too good for Surrey's motley crew of itinerants yesterday.

A tense final day was expected at the Oval, but Durham avoided a repeat of the Trent Bridge palpitations by easing to the five-wicket win which puts them 13.5 points clear at the top of the LV County Championship.

Borthwick followed career-best figures of six for 70 by contributing 42 to a second-wicket stand of 100 with Stoneman, who followed his 77 in the first innings by making 67.

With 181 needed to win, victory was far from certain when Will Smith fell to the sixth ball of the innings. It looked a formality by the time the next wicket went down, with the only threat coming from the pesky pigeons which often disrupted play.

But there was a brief wobble as Durham slipped to 126 for four before Ben Stokes saw them home with an unbeaten 35.

Durham have played a game more than most, but three wins out of five in a tough opening to the season has been an impressive response to national newspaper pundits who tipped them for relegation.

Surrey could be the ones heading back to division two, despite their outlay on Graeme Smith, Vikram Solanki, Gary Keedy and Ricky Ponting, who will be available for two months.

Surrey got their come-uppance for electing to play on a dry, used pitch on which they backed their spinners, with a combined age of 73, to out-bowl Durham's rookie duo, who boast 42 years between them.

The two men Surrey hoped would bowl them to victory, Gareth Batty and Gary Keedy, were both born in Yorkshire, as was seamer Tim Linley.

They also fielded three born in South Africa and only two who first saw light of day in Surrey, Rory Burns and Arun Harinath.

Although Durham won at Guildford in 2008, the year Surrey were relegated, this was their first championship win at the Oval.

Linley celebrated as though he had just scored the winning goal in the FA Cup final when he had Smith caught behind.

But Surrey's heads were drooping by the time Batty, screaming like a banshee, sent Borthwick on his way, lbw on the back foot.

In the morning Borthwick took the last three Surrey wickets to overhaul his only five-wicket bag, taken at Hove towards the end of the 2011 season.

When Surrey resumed on 164 for six it took 40 minutes to make the breakthrough and 35 minutes later they were all out for 229.

With Borthwick and Mark Wood bowling initially, Durham hadn't really threatened to take a wicket until off-spinner Ryan Buckley suddenly deceived Batty with his arm ball. The batsman was expecting turn, but it went straight on to have him lbw for 27.

Batty had put on 46 with Gary Wilson, who departed two balls later when he edged Borthwick to slip, where Paul Collingwood held his 11th championship catch of the season.

Stuart Meaker clobbered Borthwick over cow corner for six, while there was some comical batting from Linley, who has a first-class average of 8.4.

He connected with a couple of ungainly sweeps and even tried a couple of reverse sweeps, one of which travelled at almost 180 degrees to its intended destination.

He also survived a difficult chance to Wood, back-pedalling at long-on, off Buckley before he followed Meaker in offering Borthwick a return catch.

In his new slot at No 3, the leg-spinner scarcely had time to draw breath before he was at the crease.

Batty shared the new ball with Linley and turned a couple past the left-handers, but whenever he dropped short Stoneman cut him superbly, while Borthwick twice pulled the ineffective Keedy fiercely to the boundary.

Surrey had looked resigned to defeat prior to Borthwick's dismissal.

But then they turned to the seamers with immediate success.

After bowling poorly in the first innings, Meaker was ignored until the 33rd over, but with his fifth ball he splattered the stumps with Stoneman appearing to be beaten for pace.

His exit made it 126 for three and without addition Dale Benkenstein scooped the first ball of Linley's second spell to mid-off. Either the ball stuck in the pitch or hit one of the cracks Durham had been wary of.

Collingwood and Stokes added 30 but with 25 needed Keedy took his first wicket of the match when he bowled the Durham captain. By that time the fearless Stokes was in full flow and he completed the victory with two cracking fours off Meaker.