DURHAM could have done without Nick Compton proving his Ashes credentials on day one of their County Championship clash, admits bowler Mark Wood.
Compton, who averaged just 9.75 during England’s recent 2-0 Test series win over New Zealand, has come under fire from critics, with many claiming Joe Root should replace him at the top of the order.
But his 139 not out for Somerset against Durham at Taunton yesterday, which included 15 fours and a six, certainly did his hopes of selection the power of good.
Young Durham bowler Wood was quick to praise the efforts of Compton, but wished it had come against another county.
He said: “You have to give him credit, he showed incredible mental strength.
“All eyes were on him, and to show mental strength like that, and get a hundred deserves praise.
“It’s just a shame it had to come against us, really.”
Despite praising the Somerset and England man’s effor, Wood was quick to point out he didn’t have it all his own way against the Durham bowling attack.
Compton certainly seemed to struggle early on, scoring only 23 runs from 87 balls before lunch.
Wood added: “He started off really slowly. The first session he hardly played a shot in anger.
“He was put down at first slip by Colly (Paul Collingwood) off the bowling of Ryan Buckley, who I thought did really well, when he was on 53.
“And I think Ben Stokes had an lbw shout against him. If we could have got him early on then maybe we could have pressed Somerset a bit more.”
As it was, the hosts ended the day on 336-5, with Compton still at the crease.
Skipper Marcus Trescothick and Arul Suppiah both contributed 36 for the home side, while Dean Elgar (33) and James Hildreth (32) also got out when apparently well set.
Graham Onions was the pick of the visitors’ bowling attack with 2-43 from 18 overs, but Wood was also quick to give credit to Stokes.
He said: “They played well, while I think we missed a couple of chances, and if we took them it would have been an outstanding day.
“But I think Stokes and Onions did fantastically well, and for them to go at two and over was superb.”
Wood chipped in with a wicket of his own, claiming the scalp of Alex Barrow before the close.
And while he would have liked to have added to his tally he felt the one victim he did get was deserved.
“I was pretty pleased after toiling away in the first two spells,” he said.
“It had been a long day, and sometimes when you get that luck at the end, it’s reward for the work you put in earlier.
“I got that inside edge and the wicket, which I thought I probably deserved overall.
“I had an early shout for Trecothick, which I thought was close, but the ball was just going down leg side.
“We got the ball swinging as a bowling attack, which we didn’t think it would do as much.
“We got it to reverse swing, but we just couldn’t quite nail it, and get it in the rights areas to take the wickets.
“But it’s a good track, and we have to keep plugging away.”