Stoneman urges Durham show of character at Somerset

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DURHAM face a big run chase to stay in the game in their County Championship clash with Somerset at Taunton.

The hosts were bowled for 458 on day two, with England batsman Nick Compton a thorn in Durham’s side on the opening day, reaching 166 before being caught behind by Phil Mustard off the bowling of young spinner Ryan Buckley.

Compton spent more than seven hours in the middle.

And opening batsman Mark Stoneman says Durham must take a similarly stoic approach when it comes to their own batting efforts.

“It’s just a case of occupying the crease and batting for as long as possible, and then seeing where you are,” he said.

“If you look too far ahead, then that’s when you can start to get yourself into a little bit of trouble.

“You’ve got to look to build partnerships, and chip away at the score bit by bit.

“You can’t go out there and start to worry about the run rate or trying to chase down their total in a hurry.

“You have to stick in, build your innings and look to progress from there.

“It’s a good deck to bat on, so hopefully that will help.

Durham will be hoping that Stoneman can continue to build on his good start.

The batsman was undefeated on 78 at the close yesterday – his sixth half-century so far this season.

And while he was pleased to get another half-century under his belt, he admits he is hungry for more.

“It’s nice to keep getting the half-centuries, but obviously the main aim is to start turning those fifties into big hundreds,” he added.

Durham’s reply suffered an early blow when Jamie Overton had Keaton Jennings picked up by James Hildreth in the slips for 15 with the total on 38.

But Stoneman breezed to his half-century off just 53 balls, with 11 fours, and found an equally aggressive partner in Scott Borthwick.

The Sunderland spinner followed Stoneman to 50 off 57 deliveries, the pair sharing a hundred partnership before Borthwick was caught at short cover off George Dockrell, having made 56.

Stoneman said: “It was disappointing to lose Scott – it was a good partnership.

“We have had a couple of good ones between him and me now. He played very well, it was just a shame that the partnership was broken.”

There was another blow for Durham before the end, Will Smith driving Overton straight to Gemaal Hussain at mid-off for seven with the last ball of the game.

Stoneman added: “Will’s dismissal was another unfortunate mishap that we could do without. It was another shame because the time he was in he looked quite good.”