BOWLERS were on top at Chester-le-Street as 14 wickets fell on the opening day of the LV County Championship Division One clash between Durham and Nottinghamshire.
On a pitch offering some encouragement to the seamers, title-chasing Nottinghamshire had cause for satisfaction in dismissing their struggling hosts for 253 after losing the toss, but they then slumped to 66 for four by stumps as Durham fought back.
John Hastings sparked the revival as he took two wickets in two balls in the second over of Notts’ reply.
The Australian had Steven Mullaney caught behind for a duck then pinned James Taylor lbw with a full-length ball which swung in late.
It became 37 for three as Chris Rushworth gained an lbw verdict when bowling round the wicket to Michael Lumb, but Samit Patel looked in good touch in reaching 26 until he pushed forward to the last ball of the day and edged Paul Coughlin to second slip.
Durham were without wicketkeeper Phil Mustard, who had injured a knee in training, so Michael Richardson took the gloves ... but shone with the bat first, top scoring with a tenacious 73.
He never looked totally secure against good bowling from Luke Fletcher and Ajmal Shahzad, but stuck doggedly to the task of holding the innings together.
There was a more fluent half-century from opener Mark Stoneman, who hit 11 fours in reaching 50 off 66 balls, only to inside edge Mullaney’s second ball into his stumps 10 minutes before lunch.
Richardson also fell to a new bowler just before tea straight after he and Gordon Muchall had both pulled Shahzad for four to bring up the 200 with five wickets down.
Patel pushed his second ball wide of off stump and Richardson was lured forward, leaving Chris Read with an easy stumping.