CHRIS Rushworth says his five-star display for Durham is his way of repaying the faith shown in him.
The Sunderland-born bowler weighed in with career-best figures of 5-44 against Worcestershire yesterday as the men from the Emirates continued to pull off the great escape.
Having spent most of the season rooted to the bottom of the County Championship Division One table and without a four-day win to their name, Durham were staring relegation in the face.
But they are going for a fourth straight championship win, with Worcestershire the next scalp they are aiming to claim.
Rushworth and Graham Onions did their best to ensure another home win as they reduced the visitors to 26-5 early on.
Former Hylton CCC man Rushworth was out of the four-day picture at the start of the campaign, instead restricted to showing his skills in the shorter forms of the game.
But having fired his way back into the reckoning with some excellent displays, he couldn’t be happier with the way things having turned around.
“It’s nice to get the chance and to have a bit of confidence put in you by the captain and the coach feels good,” he said.
“I’m feeling confident and it’s great to have the chance to play, but it’s an even better feeling to be taking wickets.
“Hopefully, I can keep it going and keep showing that they were right to give me my chance.”
It certainly looked like the right decision yesterday, as Rushworth in tandem with Onions, who claimed three wickets, caused Worcestershire all sorts of problems.
Matthew Pardoe offered some resistance with a defiant 36, but even that couldn’t halt the Durham bowling attack as Worcestershire were all out for 120.
Durham also struggled with the bat, on a day for the bowlers.
Worcestershire’s Alan Richardson and Chris Russell combined to remove openers Mark Stoneman and Will Smith before double figures had been reached.
On eight for two, Keaton Jennings came to the crease and he and Ben Stokes put on 72 for the third wicket.
Jennings departed for a hard-worked 30, while Stokes increased his tempo to reach 50 off 64 balls.
The all-rounder looked set fair for a century until he was bowled off his pads for 78.
Stokes’s departure saw Durham lose their momentum somewhat, although Dale Benkenstein and skipper Paul Collingwood did as some useful runs.
Durham resumed today on 215-9 a lead of 95, with Borthwick 23 not out, with Rushworth undefeated on 14, the seamer was hoping for more of the same today.
He said: “Scotty (Borthwick) can bat and I’ll try to hang around with him, and maybe get the odd boundary.
“If we can bat for 10 overs then it should give us a decent lead.
“Then we’ll see where we can go from there.”
While hoping to chip in with some runs, Rushworth knows he is more likely to do damage with the ball in his hand rather than the bat.
But despite yesterday’s superb display, he won’t be taking his focus off the job at hand.
“You can’t get too ahead of yourself,” he said. “The ball’s not going to do all of the work.
“You have to make sure you are putting the ball in the right spot, so it does that little bit for you.
“We showed yesterday that it will do a bit, if you get it in the right spot.”