Di Venuto ton rescues Durham
Durham 272 for 7 v Nottinghamshire
Michael Di Venuto's 132 held Durham together as the County Championship leaders reached 272 for 7 on the first day against Nottinghamshire at Chester-le-Street.
On a day when 23 overs were lost to rain only 55 runs had come off the bat at the other end when Di Venuto reached his third century of the season off 139 balls. But with Andre Adams taking four wickets to boost his season tally to 49, Durham were rocking on 197 for 6, prompting Di Venuto to drop anchor in the final session.
He had all but survived it when he played back and edged Steven Mullaney to wicketkeeper Chris Read in the penultimate over. With Ben Stokes returning to four-day action in place of the injured Steve Harmison, Durham had opted for the extra batsman and had skipper Phil Mustard going in at number eight.
He survived a streaky start to contribute 45 to his stand of 74 with Di Venuto and was still there on 46 at the close. Durham won the toss for the 11th time in 12 championship games and chose to bat, despite the sultry heat providing good conditions for swing bowling.
New-ball pair Darren Pattinson and Charlie Shreck posed little threat as Di Venuto and Will Smith put on 54. But Smith made only 13 of those against his former colleagues before lifting Pattinson to long leg.
Gordon Muchall survived a big lbw appeal from Pattinson off his first ball, and although he put away several bad balls, notably from Paul Franks, he struggled against Adams, who bowled him for 30. In his next over Adams had Paul Collingwood caught behind for a duck as the ex-England batsman tried to withdraw his bat.
Dale Benkenstein contributed only 12 to a fourth-wicket stand of 54 before a thick edge off a forcing back-foot shot was well held by Mullaney at gully. Stokes was shaping to play through mid-wicket when he was adjudged lbw to Franks during an improved spell after tea, then Ian Blackwell edged a drive at Adams and was smartly held by Adam Voges.
Mustard survived a difficult chance to Pattinson at mid-on off Shreck on 30, and if he can add a few more he will be confident of success against a team who propose to open the batting with a pair of debutants.
One is Karl Turner, who made his Durham Academy debut in 2004 and became a second-team regular before being released at the end of last season. The other is Sam Kelsall, from Stoke, who has been playing for England Under 19s recently.