In choosing to bat after winning the toss against Somerset on Day One of the County Championship clash, Durham had first use of a surface for the first time in this season’s competition.
Unfortunately for the hosts at the Emirates ICG, the change of tack was unable to address the horrendous first innings blues for the county.
There’s a bit of variable bounce but there wasn’t a great deal sidewards.
From a steady platform of 107-3 at lunch, Durham capitulated to 189 all out in less than 50 overs.
Luckily for Durham, the effervescent Chris Rushworth keeps on producing and the Sunderland-born bowler took three wickets to keep his side in touch as Somerset closed on 147-4.
“There’s not a great deal in the pitch. There’s a bit of variable bounce but there wasn’t a great deal sidewards,” said the bowler.
“It’s been a decent batting wicket. We didn’t do ourselves justice with the bat. We’ve failed a few times this year. Fingers crossed, a few lads need to start stepping up.”
With Pakistan spinner Abdur Rehman not selected and Alfonso Thomas rested for the visitors, captain Paul Collingwood must have thought this was a good a chance as any to rack up some bonus points.
His initial decision seemed vindicated until the introduction of Craig Overton. After marginally missing Mark Stoneman’s stumps first up, his in-swinger three balls later proved too good as the opener padded up on 16.
The 21-year-old repeated the trick to remove Collingwood without scoring after Scott Borthwick edged to Marcus Trescothick in the slip cordon.
Despite the setbacks Durham’s position at the break was healthy enough, with some sweetly-timed strokes from Michael Richardson aiding the recovery. Less than 20 overs later, the innings had concluded.
Once Jennings was trapped lbw one shy of his half century, three more wickets fell for as many runs as 117-3 became 120-7.
Calum MacLeod was removed second ball, but John Hastings’ quickfire 28 provided some light relief. Overton returned to rearrange his stumps, breaking a stand of 52 with Gordon Muchall, and the innings quickly folded.
Rushworth led the bowling attack. He induced a nick from Tom Abell to wicketkeeper Richardson and two balls after tea, he trapped Trescothick lbw.
Ex-Durham man Johann Myburgh led a recovery as the visitors sailed into three figures but late wickets tarnished their day’s work.
James Hildreth scooped Borthwick’s second ball to mid-on, before Tom Cooper gifted the returning Rushworth by pulling a long hop to mid-wicket.
On Saturday, Durham went down to a seven-wicket defeat to Birmingham Bears in their NatWest t20 Blast match at Chester-le-Street, Ian Bell making 90 for the visitors.