Batting frailty a worry for Durham

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DURHAM will look for a quick response from their batsmen after being skittled for 94 in their County Championship defeat at Warwickshire on Saturday.

England prospect Chris Wright was the destoyer-in-chief as champions Warwickshire completed a comprehensive 318-run victory at Edgbaston.

Wright, having taken the one wicket to fall before the close on Friday, became the spearhead in a morning spell of three for 10 and an overall return of six for 31.

Durham were overwhelmed by his opening salvo and finally slumped to defeat despite Phil Mustard’s defiance in making 28 in 140 minutes.

For captain Paul Collingwood it was a reminder that his team may have only covered the cracks in last year’s climb from the bottom of the table.

An opening win against Somerset last week raised hopes that the improvement would continue, but even then a shortage of runs from the top order was clear to all.

Now in 16 innings, the first four batsmen have scored 99 runs and mustered only three double-figure scores between them.

In the first attempt at Warwickshire, they were able to able to turn things round with a partnership of 153 between Collingwood and Scott Borthwick but there was no fallback position when Warwickshire scented victory.

A procession began with Mark Stoneman and Will Smith nicking deliveries from Wright before Dale Benkenstein pulled a short ball from the paceman to Jeetan Patel at mid-wicket.

Keith Barker, awarded his county cap yesterday, got into the act with a clear-cut lbw dismissal for Ben Stokes and in little more than hour Collingwood was facing a familiar situation with his side on 29 for five.

The original victory target of 413 may have disappeared into dreamland but the former England all-rounder stubbornly held out for an hour for five runs until he edged to second slip in Chris Woakes’ fifth over.

Wright led a second wave of pressure after lunch when Tim Ambrose held a defensive nudge from Borthwick and a top edge by Callum Thorp.

Off-spinner Patel served a dual purpose, removing Graham Onions and levelling out the over-rate, before Mustard was last out, caught at point off Woakes.

Durham play host to Yorkshire in the Championship this week, the game starting on Wednesday.