DURHAM skipper Phil Mustard has warned his side to be wary of the threat Marcus Trescothick poses to their title charge.
Geoff Cook’s table-toppers can take another big step towards the championship after getting their four-day clash with Somerset at Taunton under way today.
Durham lead the County Championship table by 23 points from second-placed Lancashire, who have a game in hand.
Somerset lie fifth, some 65 points adrift of top spot, having played nine games, losing four, winning three and drawing two.
But Durham will not be anything for granted – with skipper Mustard knowing that in his opposite number, Somerset have one of the most dangerous and destructive batsmen in the county game.
The Wearsider said: “We don’t normally worry too much about other teams, we prefer to focus on our own game and our strengths and weaknesses.
“But we know they have some very good players. In (Marcus) Trescothick, they have someone who is still one of the best batsmen about.
“If you allow him to get in and get settled, he is capable of punishing any bowling attack, and taking the game away from you.
“Hopefully, we can make sure that doesn’t happen, and get another result under our belts.”
This season, Trescothick averages 75.62 and was the first man to 1,000 Championship runs.
Durham’s own batsmen have been in good form, however, including Mustard, who, despite missing three games earlier in the season, is happy with his own contribution in the longer form of the game.
In seven four-day matches, he has hit five half-centuries and one ton, but admits he would like to see more from himself.
“I feel like I have been hitting the ball quite well,” he added. “It hasn’t always come off, and there have been times when I have felt that I should have converted 50s into 100s.
“Hopefully, I can do that between now and the end of the season, but the main thing is that the team keeps getting results. If I can play my part in helping them to a successful season then that will be great.
“We are all hungry for success, especially after last year (the county’s first campaign without a trophy since 2006).
“We want to get back to winning trophies, and while there is still a long way to go, a result here would be another step in the right direction.
“You have to take it one game at a time. If you start wondering too much about what is coming up, then you are not focused on what you have to do.
“We have done well so far in the four-day games, but that will count for nothing if we don’t keep it up. It’s no good worrying about what’s been or what’s coming up. You can only deal with the present.”
Durham are unbeaten in their last seven championship games, having lost just one all season – at home to Sussex back in April.
Durham are at home to Sri Lanka A next week (Wednesday to Saturday), with admission free.
DURHAM (from): Di Venuto, Smith, Muchall, Collingwood, Benkenstein, Blackwell, Mustard, Borthwick, Thorp, Onions, S Harmison, Plunkett, Claydon