DURHAM entertain rivals Yorkshire in the County Championship tomorrow with both sides looking to bounce back from disappointing defeats.
The men from the Emirates got their campaign off to a winning start with a narrow victory over Somerset.
But they then suffered a 318-run defeat away to Warwickshire in their last four-day clash.
It was a hugely disappointing defeat for Durham, who managed just 94 runs in their second innings at Edgbaston.
The low total was yet another example of the top order failing to fire.
In their four County Championship innings this term, the top four have amassed a combined total of just 99 runs.
Head coach Geoff Cook admits the lack of runs is a worry, but says the suffering batsmen must be given time to get it right.
“It’s disappointing for them,” he said. “No one is trying to get out.
“These fellas can all bat, but they have got to be given the time and support to get their games going.
“It’s the toughest place to bat, and particularly at this time of year when the ball seams about a bit more, it’s even tougher.”
However, while Cook is backing his batsmen to rediscover their scoring touch, there can be no hiding from the fact that they need to do so fast.
Durham’s chief strength lies in their bowlers with the likes of Graham Onions and Chris Rushworth, and at home they are more than a match for most, if not all, opposition.
But the top order need to come to the party if the bowling attack is to have something to work with.
Cook added: “Our seam bowling, and the type of seam bowlers we have are our strongest suit.
“We had a good win over Somerset at home and we have to try and take that into this game against Yorkshire.
“The batters have got to learn their lessons, and everybody has to move forward collectively into tomorrow’s game.”
Yorkshire too have had their early-season problems.
Having enjoyed the elation of promotion last season, the Tykes were brought back to earth with a bump in their opening County Championship match – losing to Sussex by an innings and 23 runs.
It was something of a baptism of fire for Yorkshire in their only championship clash so far this term.
And while coach Jason Gillespie admitted his side weren’t up to the test against Sussex, he feels there is no need to panic yet.
“It’s far too early to make too many comparisons between Division One and Division Two,” he said.
“But we knew from the start of the season that the standard of cricket was gong to be very good, and that it was going to challenge us.
“It challenged us here, and we weren’t up to it. We’ve got to find a way to turn that around.”