DURHAM’S Mitchell Claydon explained the decision to put Somerset into bat yesterday on a day when the home side amassed 409 runs for seven wickets and Marcus Trescothick plundered 163 runs to confirm his position as the leading run-maker in county cricket.
Claydon, who gave Durham some hope on a difficult day thanks to bowling figures of four for 84, said: “I think we were expecting more from the pitch.
“The last couple of times we’ve been here the pitch has looked like it did yesterday but Marcus Trescothick played unbelievably well.
“There was a bit of uneven bounce and as the day went on the sun came out and it got really flat.
“In my third spell it didn’t seem to be doing much and then a couple just took off and hit a length and then it died off again.
“You can only keep trying different things and yesterday was my day, Now we have to hope we can run through them quickly.
“If we get a full three more days cricket in, and get them out early and bat for two days, the way our lads score quickly you never know.
“I think from the position that we were in we’d have taken where we are at the end of play and if we can get them out for 420-430, we think that with the way we’ve been batting, especially with the short boundary at one side and the fast outfield, we can post a good score.”
At one point yesterday Somerset were 231 for one after Trescothick posted his fifth Championship century of the season to maintain an average over 80.
But Durham fought hard after Arul Suppiah and Nick Compton had given the former England opening batsman good support with half-centuries.
Claydon made the breakthrough to bring the opening partnership to an end in the 26th over when he had Suppiah caught in the slips for 52 and it was Claydon who struck again to dismiss Compton, bowling him outright on 54.
Then the game turned Durham’s way with a string of cheap dismissals – Chris Jones for 13, James Hildreth for 11 – thanks to an excellent catch from Dale Benkenstein at full stretch – before dangerman Craig Kieswetter was removed for just 15 from the bowling of Ian Blackwell.
The spinner went on claim the wicket of Trescothick – caught behind by Mustard, before Claydon bowled Peter Trego for 22 with Somerset 360-7 – and could be content with the quality of the two scalps he took on the day.
Crucially though, the home team rallied and some good fortune allowed Alfonso Thomas and Murali Kartik to build a partnership of 49 in the final session before play ended with Somerset 409-7 having claimed maximum batting points.
It was a tough day for Steve Harmison, who conceded 65 from 10 wayward overs which included four wides.