Borthwick: Durham can still win it

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DURHAM can’t allow the weather to dampen their spirits as they continue to push for the County Championship crown, says Scott Borthwick.

The visitors fell foul of the elements for a second time in their four-day clash away to Derbyshire.

Chasing the home side’s first innings total of 298, the men from the Emirates ICG saw bad light and drizzle bring a premature end to day three of the match.

It was a further blow to Durham’s hopes of victory, having lost the majority of the opening day of the contest to rain.

And Borthwick (89), who became the first Durham batsman to score 1.000 first-class runs in a season since Paul Collingwood in 2005, said: “It’s massive shame that we had to come off early yesterday for the light and rain.

“I think if Richo (Michael Richardson) and Colly (Paul Collingwood) had batted through to the close, and got us that bit closer to their score, that would have been a big plus for us, but you can’t control the weather.”

The game seems likely to be heading for a draw, but with every point vital in the race for the title, spinner Borthwick isn’t ruling out a push for victory.

“We have got 16 overs to get up to that next batting point, which is obviously key,” he said.

“The weather has delayed things, but if we can get that extra batting point, that will put us in a good position, and hopefully we can try to go on from there to force a result.

“First we have to reach their score, and then look to get a lead.

“After that we can hopefully put the pressure on them, and look to try to push on for the win.”

Borthwick admitted he was disappointed with his dismissal which came from an unlikely source – caught low down by Tim Groenewald, off the bowling of former Durham man Shivnarine Chanderpaul.

Borthwick said: “It was a massive full-toss from Shivvy.

“I’ve never really seen him bowl, so it was a surprise to see him with the ball, but he put down a massive full toss and I managed to hit straight to mid-on.

“It was disappointing to get out, but I thought me and Smudge (Will Smith) batted well on what was a tough pitch to score on.”

Smith (81) and Borthwick shared a third-wicket partnership of 159 in 62 overs, in the face of some disciplined bowling from the hosts.

Skipper Collingwood passed the milestone of 13,000 first-class runs before the rain washed out the last 21 overs.

The veteran all-rounder remained undefeated on 13 at the close, while Richardson was 10 not out.

Durham were 257-4 at stumps, some 41 runs short of the home side’s first innings, and 43 away from an extra batting point.

Durham’s title rivals, Yorkshire’s game at Sussex was also hit by rain and bad light, restricting the day’s allocation to 42 overs.

Bowled out for 326, the visitors held a first innings lead of 34, which turned into a 14-run deficit as Sussex reached 48 for two when play ended early.