Durham's bowlers fight back after horror start to the season against Kent

Aiden Markram heads for the pavilion after being dismissed for 0 on debut
Aiden Markram heads for the pavilion after being dismissed for 0 on debut
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Aiden Markram strode to the crease with the confidence of a man who has bested the attacks of India and Australia, averaging 55 in tests at the tender age of 23.

Batting at the Riverside, though, is a different beast.

On the opening day of the season 21 wickets fell, two of them being Markram, with testing conditions belying the glorious weather that brought a four-figure crowd through the gates.

Markram was one of five Durham batsmen ousted in an exemplary spell of bowling from Kent’s Matt Henry, whose approach was a lesson in bowling at this ground.

There was no prodigious moment through the air but he was patient, finding just enough movement off the seam to constantly threaten the front pad and outside edge.

Markram was removed for a duck, Paul Collingwood for little more.

By lunch all ten wickets had fallen for just 91 runs, the hosts beating their record low score thanks only to some hearty blows from the lower order.

Few batsmen truly got to grips with the surface, though Markram’s compatriot Heino Kuhn proved to be the difference with an accomplished and disciplined 54. The kolpak signing countered the seam diligently, playing the ball late and right under his nose. He saw his side through a mini-collapse just before the tea break, when three wickets fell for thirteen runs.

His departure sparked another, however, as he chipped the spin of Will Smith to mid-off. New signing Nathan Rimmington, who bowled with impressive control, backed his team-mate up with two wickets in an over.

Kent's innings was quickly wrapped up by James Weighell but there was one more twist in the tale as the outstanding Henry returned to remove Markram third ball.

Durham closed on 13/1, trailing by 65 runs.

Markram knew this would a new test in his blossoming career, and he will have a good handle on it now. As ever, there were runs for those who batted patiently, and wickets for bowlers who found a good length and let the ball do the rest.

Durham, in high spirits and with a clean slate this season, have just about fought their way back into the game.

They will need their batsman to acclimatise quickly in the second innings.

An engaging day's play, ebbing and flowing, with clusters of wickets that nowhere produces quite like the Riverside.

And not a ten ball over in sight.