Durham v Somerset, Chester-le-Street, 2nd day April 11, 2013

Rushworth stars as the ball rules

Les Smith at Chester-le-Street

Durham 250 and 92 for 8 (Thomas 3-19, Trego 3-23) lead Somerset 132 (Rushworth 6-58, Onions 4-41) by 210 runs

This was the kind of day that gives county cricket a good name. Strokeplay might have been in short supply, but almost every one of the 18 wickets to fall was the result of excellent seam bowling and fielding; only one player could be said to have given his wicket away and the battle between ball and bat was engrossing. Durham's collapse to 92 for 8 - still a lead of 210 - in the latter half of day loosened their grip on proceedings but Somerset had already been undermined by then.

Somerset finished their first innings 118 runs behind but Durham's second knock was similarly afflicted, as controlled, lively seam bowling accounted for the top four batsmen for 20 runs by the 12th over. The role Graham Onions had played in the morning was replicated in the afternoon by Peter Trego. The allrounder bowled Keaton Jennings and Will Smith, and had Mark Stoneman caught behind before Alfonso Thomas wheedled out three of Durham's middle order, including the dangerous Ben Stokes and Paul Collingwood on either side of tea.

That Durham are still just about in control of the match is down to their first innings, which gained lustre overnight. They were all out off the last ball of the first day and might now reflect that 250 was not too bad a first-innings score on the opening day of the season.

The inroads into the Somerset order on Thursday morning were made by Graham Onions, the leading wicket-taker in first-class cricket last summer. He last played in a Test match in June - and suffered on England's tour of New Zealand - so will have been pleased to take the first three wickets of Durham's season with selector James Whittaker looking on. He bowled with pace, accuracy and some hostility, and his wickets included the crucial one of Marcus Trescothick, in his third over. The majority of his peers consider Trescothick to be the best player in county cricket, and there was much jubilation when he was out.

Onions' new-ball partner was Chris Rushworth, who was wicketless in his first spell but returned before lunch and soon had Craig Kieswetter caught at first slip. He went on to take five further wickets in the afternoon session including top-scorer Jos Buttler, who, one ball after smacking a six over midwicket, played all around a straight one. Rushworth finished with career-best figures of 6 for 58 to leave Somerset 132 all out. The accuracy with which Onions and Rushworth exploited helpful conditions was indicated by six slip catches, an lbw, and a bowled.

Rushworth's career has been a curious one, the sporting equivalent of snakes and ladders. A modest ascent occurred early on when, after impressing in minor counties cricket for Northumberland, he was given a one-day debut by Durham at the age of 19. He spent the next five years back playing league cricket for his home town club in Sunderland, and in Australia during the winter. Durham kept an eye on him, though, and by 2010 had seen enough to offer him an extended opportunity at first-class level. His most significant climb came in the 2012 season, by the end of which he had taken 38 wickets and established himself as first choice to partner Onions at the start of the innings. He climbed another ladder here.

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  • Mark on April 12, 2013, 8:03 GMT

    @JG: Yeah coulda used Comp in this game. Stupid ECB. It's no worse than what they've been doing to Notts/Warks etc over the years though.

    Agree on Craig, was surprised to see Jamie down over Craig on the team sheet, but Jamie did put in some excellent batting performances last year, on top of some good bowling but yeah, considering Craig's batting and bowling form over the winter, thought he would start.

  • Dummy4 on April 11, 2013, 23:14 GMT

    Yeah, judging from the scorecard, even 210 plus whatever Durham get should leave us favourites. Somerset have a decent side though, so no counting chickens.

  • John on April 11, 2013, 19:35 GMT

    Well bowled Durham.

    I'd say on a very low scoring track that Durham should still be favourites despite being 90 odd for 8. When I saw the morning card , as Somerset were approching lunch around 70-80 for 3 , I started thinking that Jos and Craig might put on a big stand with Trego chipping in. Then it seemed we folded despite a cameo partnership between Jos and Jamie. 92-8 sounds good for Somerset but when I first looked at the Durham response it was something like 21-4 so I'd say Durham will still be the happier side. Reading Sam's comms yesterday - I fully agree that Craig Overton should have played on this pitch.He seemed to make a good acc of himself on the Eng Lions tour and maybe ahead of Barrow rather than his brother. Still think ECB have been small minded in not giving their blessing for Nick to play. It's just the sort of conditions where we needed his grit. Also I recall Nick got injured when with the Lions/A side so in my book ECB owe Somerset

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