We’re going in the right direction – Phil Mustard

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DURHAM go into their third County Championship clash of the season tomorrow still looking for their first win of the campaign.

But skipper Phil Mustard feels his side are heading in the right direction ahead of the trip to the Kia Oval to face Surrey.

“We just need one or two little things to fall in place, and maybe a little help from the weather,” he said.

“I certainly feel we are doing the right things, and that it is only a matter of time before we get that first win.

“I’m confident it won’t be too long, in fact I’m confident that if we continue the way we have been, we can get it this week against Surrey.”

Durham’s curtain-raiser ended in a disappointing home defeat against Notts, while last week their trip to Lord’s to face Middlesex ended in a rain-affected draw.

But Sunderland-born Mustard isn’t letting his side’s lack of a victory worry him.

He said: “Of course, we would have liked to have got a win under our belts by now, but we are not worrying about it.

“I think we were outplayed against Nottinghamshire, but against Middlesex we could have won it had it not been for the weather.

“Chasing 130 from 39 overs on the last day we were in command, but then the rain came.

“After that we were chasing the same amount of runs, but from about 16 overs which isn’t easy on a pitch that is favouring the bowlers, and against the quality of attack they had.

“Our plan was to go for it as much as we could, but we said beforehand once we were five wickets down we would have to try to shut up shop, because of their bowling attack.

“In the end, we had to settle for a draw, which wasn’t what we wanted, but overall we were pleased with how we played.”

Surrey have had a mixed bag in their three Championship games so far, claiming a win, a draw and a loss, to leave them on 30 points – 20 ahead of Durham in the table.

Their previous game ended in a rain-hit draw at home to Worcestershire, and Mustard knows his batsmen will have their work cut out on a pitch that saw 19 wickets fall on the third day of that encounter.

He said: “We expect them to go into the game with a five-strong seam attack on a wicket that is likely to favour the bowlers, so it will be tough.

“They have bowlers like Stuart Meaker (who took 6-39 in Worcestershire’s first innings last week) and Jade Dernbach, and others who can be a real danger.

“But we have to go out there with our heads up, play our own game and make sure we do ourselves justice.”

Of course, Durham won’t be without a bowling threat of their own with seamer Graham Onions on fire against Middlesex last week – he returned match figures of 10-73 from 37.4 overs and claimed the scalp of England skipper Andrew Strauss in both innings for a combined total of just six runs.

And Mustard would love to see more of the same tomorrow.

He said: “Graham’s performance at Lord’s didn’t surprise anyone from Durham.

“We know that he is a world-class bowler, and we know what he is capable of.

“He is great form at the moment, but I think we are bowling well as unit as well and hopefully we can keep that up.”