A CAREER-best one-man super show from Graham Onions left Durham’s opposition tied in Notts at Trent Bridge.
Onions missed the opening day of Durham’s County Championship clash due to being called up for England duty.
However, having not made the starting XI to face South Africa at Lord’s, the seamer was subsequently released and made a quick dash up to the motorway to join his county side.
Durham had struggled badly with the bat on a rain-affected first day and they fared only slightly better at the crease on day two.
The visitors were all out for 194 and badly in need of their talismanic seamer against a Nottinghamshire side that hasn’t lost a championship game all season.
But no one could have predicted what was about to follow as a master-class from Onions demolished the hosts.
A display, which brought career-best figures of 9-67, was truly a sight to behold and then to top things off, the star man denied himself a 10-fer by running out Luke Fletcher as Notts crumbled to 154 all out – some 40 runs behind Durham.
Onions himself was the first to admit it was an amazing moment for him.
“It was a special day for me, and most importantly for Durham,” he said.
“There have been some downs, but in the last few weeks we have started to bowl as a unit.
“I bowled well last week and, if you like, got rewards yesterday. We see ourselves in a strong position.”
Having not made the England starting line-up, there was only one place Onions wanted to be.
No one was more delighted than him that his motorway dash had paid dividends.
He said: “I knew yesterday morning that I wasn’t playing in the England side, so I got in my car and went straight to Trent Bridge.
“To come back to the county that I love playing for and to take wickets that puts our side in a pretty decent position, puts a smile on my face.
“To take nine wickets is really something and it still needs to sink in – it’s fantastic. I was more than happy to get the run out – I guess now you think it would have been fantastic to take 10 wickets, but I can’t be unhappy with nine!”
Far from patting himself on the back at his amazing feat, Onions is still focused on the job at hand and admits there is still work to be done.
He added: “We still have a game to win. We have got to bat well today, and if we can bat all day then we will be in a very strong position.”
Durham resumed play today on 27 without loss – a lead of 67, and now Geoff Cook’s side will be looking to post a considerable second innings total as they try to take the game away from the home side.
Earlier in the day, Onions replaced Mitch Claydon, and immediately settled into the perfect rhythm, seeing off Alex Hales lbw with the sixth ball of the innings.
The ball kept low, as did the delivery which accounted for Riki Wessels, who departed the crease after Onions had claimed the scalps of Michael Lumb and Adam Voges.
There were some doubts over the lbw decisions for Steven Mullaney and Paul Franks, who top scored for the hosts with 53.
But if there were question marks over the umpiring decisions, there was no doubting the faultless display from Onions.
With eight wickets to his name, the Durham man ran out Fletcher at the non-striker’s end after the Notts seamer hesitated about a single to square leg.
Any hopes of a magical 10-fer were gone, but Onions rounded off his awe-inspiring performance by bowling Andy Carter for 0.