Rushworth excels to put Durham in control

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CHRIS Rushworth couldn’t hide his delight after another five-star display helped put Durham in the driving seat in their County Championship clash against Warwickshire.

On Sunday, the Sunderland-born bowler took career best one-day figures of 5-31 from his eight overs to help Geoff Cook’s side demolish Nottinghamshire in a Clydesdale Bank 40 (CB40) game.

Yesterday, the former Hylton man was at it again, taking his best ever championship haul of 5-46 from 17.4 overs.

And he couldn’t be happier. He said: “I’m over the moon. Obviously it’s nice to get a chance in the four-day stuff after the one-day game at the weekend.

“I never thought this would have happened, but I’m absolutely delighted it did. Just to get the chance to play in the game was a good feeling, but then to get a ‘five-fer’ is fantastic.”

With Graham Onions called up to the England squad, Rushworth’s efforts against Notts earned him a shot against Warkwickshire, and he didn’t disappoint.

“I was lucky that Graham was called into the England squad, and that gave me a chance to play on Sunday,” he said.

“I took that chance well, and now I’ve taken this opportunity in the four-day stuff, so hopefully I’ll not be left out for the next game.”

Having closed the first day on 228-5 it looked like being the same old story, when the hosts capitulated at the start of day two – losing their last five wickets for just 49 runs to fall to 277 all out, with Keith Barker (4-62) and Chris Woakes (4-67) the pick of the bowlers.

Although Durham’s bowlers managed to keep things tight early on, an opening partnership of 61 from Varun Chopra (29) and Ian Westwood (36) did not bode well for the home side.

Then came the breakthrough as Steve Harmison removed both openers – Westwood caught at cover by Paul Collingwood and Chopra caught behind.

Before that, Rushworth had bowled impeccably without any reward – the Durham man conceded just one run from his first six overs.

The Wearsider kept delivering, though, and was delighted to be rewarded in the end. He added: “When you bowl well, and you bowl tight, and your figures don’t always show the right numbers in the right columns it does get frustrating.

“But you have got to plug away, and hopefully you get a bit of luck and the wickets will come, which they did in my second and third spells.”

Once they had made the initial breakthrough, wickets continued to fall on a regular basis for Durham.

The visitors were all out for just 197 to give Durham a lead of 80, and Rushworth believes that the whole bowling attack deserve credit for that effort.

“As a bowling unit, we kept things tight and kept the pressure on,” he said.

“We kept the runs down in partnerships from all the bowlers, and wickets came at regular intervals.

“That’s what we talk about before every game, trying to build up partnerships and dry up the runs, and the wickets will come afterwards.”

Durham’s second innings did not get off to the best of starts as Mark Stoneman and Will Smith were both out lbw before the close of play.

Stoneman’s decision looked a harsh one, but there could be no arguments about Smith’s dismissal. Gordon Muchall and nightwatchman Jamie Harrison steered the hosts to 28-2 at stumps, a lead of 108.

Rushworth added: “Hopefully we can get another couple of hundred and then have another good innings with ball when Warwickshire bat again.”