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June 5, 2012
Durham 228 for 5 (Stokes 66) v Warwickshire
Durham adopted a cautious approach in their search for a first Championship win of the season against Warwickshire at Chester-le-Street.
The patience shown by Ben Stokes (66) and Will Smith (47) in a stand of 109 helped the hosts recover from 23 for two after opting to bat. The experienced pair of Dale Benkenstein and Paul Collingwood then put on 78 for the fifth wicket, with the former England man remaining unbeaten on 43.
The day was interrupted by three showers, though, and with even more forecast for the rest of the match Durham's improved application may be in vain.
Four of the five batting points they had previously accrued came at Taunton, where Benkenstein had a top score of 31 in eight innings. He made 40 before surprisingly lobbing an attempted pull to mid-on four overs from the close to give Chris Woakes a second wicket.
Both Benkenstein and Collingwood survived edges off England Under-19s allrounder Tom Milnes, making his Championship debut. He came in for Warwickshire's out-of-form captain Jim Troughton, who was ruled out by a back spasm. With Rikki Clarke playing purely as a batsman because of a stomach muscle injury, Milnes was one of six bowlers used before lunch by Varun Chopra, captaining the side for the first time.
The visiting bowlers showed the discipline which has helped to make them strong contenders for the title. Darren Maddy had bowled 14 overs for 16 runs when Collingwood cut him for four then drove him down the ground.
Stokes threatened to follow his century against Lancashire last Friday with another, only to depart for 66 when he tried to withdraw his bat from a ball by Chris Wright, who was bowling around the wicket, and got a bottom edge into his leg stump.
Smith battled on until the 55th over before he walked into a straight one from Wright, aiming for midwicket, and was lbw. Keith Barker and Woakes took the early wickets, with both Mark Stoneman and Gordon Muchall edging low to second slip, where Clarke made the catches look much easier than they were.
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