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Alex Winter at Edgbaston
April 18, 2013
Warwickshire 345 and 6 for 0 lead Durham 284 (Borthwick 101, Collingwood 74) by 67 runs
Durham have made a habit of finding their way out of holes, perhaps it's a mining thing. Having once again fallen down the shaft, Paul Collingwood and Scott Borthwick dragged them back towards more comfortable air.
Collingwood cleared the rubble for fellow Sunderland football fan Borthwick to build on and it was Borthwick who went through to a maiden Championship century from 128 balls. It was an attractive innings with 15 fours and an indication of the talent that was recognised with an international debut in August 2011.
Borthwick wanted to play strokes and after the hard work was done following an early tea, played a series of pulls, flicks and drives. He latched onto anything short, pulling with great confidence and, as he grew in stature, allowed himself to attack on the front foot too. His best shot was a straight drive off Keith Barker.
Borthwick has done it on the small occasions - a maiden first-class hundred against Sri Lanka A in 2011 and 99 against Durham MCCU in the opening match of the season - but this was his best score in the Championship. A coming-of-age moment, maybe. He turns 23 on day three and can celebrate with his family who have travelled down for the game.
Successive cover-driven boundaries off Rikki Clarke took him into the 90s and he brought up the century by pushing Chris Woakes for three through extra cover.
"I've worked on my batting over the winter," Borthwick said. "And I'll try and keep improving this summer so it was nice to get a big score to get us in a good position. When me and Colly got together the plan was just to bat as long as we could. We just tried to keep it simple. Colly is brilliant to bat with, he just takes every ball as it comes."
Borthwick wouldn't have got his century without his industrious captain. Could there be a better man for a crisis than Collingwood? His leadership transformed Durham in 2012 with five wins from the final seven matches - it only took Warwickshire six victories to win the title - and he who got his head down to lead Durham towards the light again with a three hour innings. It took half of last season for his first half-century of the year but his side were thankful his form showed up earlier in 2013.
His 153-run stand with Borthwick - a record for the seventh wicket for Durham against Warwickshire - was made in a marathon evening session of 52 overs. It was the latest middle-order rescue mission. Many were needed last season in a remarkable run to safety where Nos. 4, 5 and 6 in the order filled three of the first four places in Durham's Championship run-making charts.
Collingwood topped the list. Here he was at his gritty best to repel the unrelenting Warwickshire attack and keep Durham in the contest. Two batting points and a first-innings deficit of 61 was an excellent result from 0 for 2 and 5 for 3.
At 50 for 6 the Warwickshire juggernaut was back up and running. They welcomed back Barker and Chris Woakes who seemed eager to make up for lost time by taking 3 for 8 in six overs before lunch.
Barker was irresistible from the pavilion end. He kept a tight line and found swing, first moving one away just enough to take a feather edge of left-hander Mark Stoneman's bat and then getting another to hold its line to the right-handed Will Smith who couldn't get his bat inside the line in time.
Woakes added the wickets of Ben Stokes, bowled by one that nipped back from around the wicket, and Phil Mustard, lbw shouldering arms, and returned to break the Sunderland-alliance when Collingwood fended outside off and edged to Rikki Clarke, the safest hands in the country who earlier had shocked the crowd by dropping Borthwick on 40.
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