Phil Mustard’s Durham rallying call

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DURHAM skipper Phil Mustard has urged his side to come out fighting after a disappointing first day in their County Championship clash with Somerset.

The hosts were made to toil at the Emirates ICG as former England man Marcus Trescothick and Nick Compton put the Durham bowling attack to the sword.

But despite a day of toil in the field, Mustard has sounded a rallying call, and says his team can wrestle back the initiative from the visitors.

“If you dig deep and stay patient long enough, something has got to give,” said the skipper, who missed the last four-day clash with a toe injury. “Hopefully, we can keep them down to 450 or 460, and look to build from there.

“In our last County Championship game (a victory over Warwickshire) the first two or three days were pretty tough. They got about 460 and we replied with around 430 before bowling them out in the second innings, and going on to win the match.

“We have to look at that match, and say we have done it once, so now let’s do it again.”

To do so, Durham’s bowling attack must show more teeth than they did on the opening day, although Graham Onions did seem to encourage some life out of the pitch with the second new ball before the end of play.

The hosts got off to a bright start – Callum Thorp having Arul Suppiah caught at third slip without scoring.

But then Trescothick and Compton took control of the proceedings, the former hitting an attacking 141 before being caught by Ruel Brathwaite off the bowling of Scott Borthwick.

Trescothick reached his century off just 127 balls, and went on to add insult to injury, adding a number of boundaries after being put down in the slips by Michael Di Venuto, when he was on 108.

Mustard admitted that had been blow as had been Gordon Muchall’s dropping of James Hildreth on 18 – the Somerset man going on to make 54, reaching his half century from 49 balls.

“Dropping Trescothick was a kick in the teeth,” he said. “When you’ve got a guy in with the quality of Trescothick and he gives you even a sniff of a chance you have to take it.

“Normally Diva (Di Venuto) would snap them up. It went pretty quick to him, but you can’t afford too many of those.

“Trescothick is a really frustrating player, because he plays it late. He watches the ball and nudges it down to third man.”

The visitors still had another centurion at the crease when play ended for the day – Compton undefeated on 149 as Somerset reached 383-4.

Durham now need quick wickets, while also looking to tie down their opponents, but rather than get too downbeat at the task ahead, Mustard preferred to try to stay positive.

He added: “We got them down to four by the end of play, and they have shown this season that they can crumble, so if we can get a couple of quick wickets and get them all out for about 450 that would be great.”

To achieve that goal, Durham will need Onions, who finished with figures of 2-71, and his fellow bowlers to deliver on a wicket that Mustard feels could give success.

“Every time we play on that side of the wicket it normally does a bit,” he said. “It was a bit green and we thought it might have nipped around a bit. I still think we made the right decision to put them in, I just don’t think the bowlers put the ball in the right areas enough.”