Durham’s Rushworth is on a roll

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DURHAM seamer Chris Rushworth hopes he’s given his coach and skipper a headache ahead of tomorrow’s LV County Championship clash against Warwickshire at the Emirates ICG.

The Sunderland-born bowler returned career-best one-day figures of 5-31 as the Dynamos put Nottinghamshire Outlaws to the sword for a 91-run win in the Clydesdale Bank 40 yesterday.

The former Hylton CCC man proved too hot to handle for the visitors, and at one point had figures of 5-13 as they struggled to get anywhere near the home side’s impressive total of 310-4.

Putting that win aside Geoff Cook’s men must now focus on the four-day clash with Warwickshire, which starts tomorrow (11am start).

And Rushworth hopes he’s done enough to earn himself a shot at the longer format of the game.

Speaking after his almost single-handed destruction of the Outlaws, he said: “Hopefully, it’s a nudge to Phil (Mustard) and Geoff to say I’m bowling well, and ready for a chance with the red ball.

“The wickets this year have all been bowler friendly, so to get a ‘five-for’ in a one-day game, hopefully it does remind them that I’m still there for the red ball stuff.”

Rushworth is increasingly looked upon as a one-day specialist for the Dynamos, but while he’s always ready to give his all in the shorter form of the game, he admits he’d like an opportunity to show what he can do in the championship.

“I prefer to bowl with the red ball because obviously it does swing a lot more,” he said.

“One-day stuff does suit my style of bowling – tight lines and hitting the top of off stump – but I’d love to get a chance with the red ball when it does swing a bit, especially at home where we are renowned for having wickets that do do a bit for the bowlers.

“As long as I keep bowling well when I get a chance, whether it is with the red or the white ball, then I keep reminding the people in charge that I’m here and raring to go.”

Durham’s victory over the Outlaws yesterday was a real family affair, with Rushworth’s cousin, Phil Mustard, top-scoring for the hosts with a superb 66-ball century.

Mustard, another ex-Hylton man, and opening partner Mark Stoneman (72) put on 183 runs inside 23 overs to give Durham a platform for success.

Notts never really looked like chasing down Durham’s score, but Adam Voges (74) and Paul Franks (57) did make things look more respectable for the visitors, who were all out for 219.

Mustard, who was awarded the man of the match award, was delighted with the win and his ton, but he was quick to hand out praise to his star bowler.

“Rushy (Rushworth) set us up for a comfortable victory. He bowled line and length,” he said.

“The ball nipped around and swung a bit, and I hold my hands up he should have got man of the match.”

With star bowler Graham Onions away on England duty and missing tomorrow’s County Championship encounter, four-day skipper Mustard must shuffle his pack in terms of his side’s bowling attack.

And he admitted that Rushworth’s performance had given him and coach Cook some food for thought.

“We have some very good bowlers in the squad, and it’s just about trying to find the right balance,” he said.

“Rushy bowled really well yesterday and put his hand up, but Mitch (Claydon) bowled quite nicely and there are others to come into the reckoning.

“That’s the tough thing about being captain, but hopefully we can get the balance right.”

Durham go into tomorrow’s game rooted to the bottom of the championship table having failed to get a single win in the competition this year.

On Saturday, they succumbed to defeat against fellow strugglers and current champions Lancashire, the visitors snatching victory in the last over of the game with two wickets to spare.

Mustard knows things won’t be any easier when the action gets under way tomorrow against a side second in the Division One table and with four wins under their belt.

He said: “We were disappointed to lose the championship game with Lancashire on Saturday, but one or two things are starting to come together and we have got to push on.

“We need to start winning games, but if we get one or two victories things will start to move on from there. Warwickshire have a strong batting line-up and a good seam attack so we know it’s going to be tough, but hopefully we can put on a performance.”