'Buzzin' Borthwick sets up Durham win
Durham 286 (Stoneman 77, Benkenstein 74, Batty 5-80) and 181 for 5 (Stoneman 67) beat Surrey 237 (Buckley 5-86) and 229 (Borthwick 6-70) by five wickets
"Buzzin" was Scott Borthwick's stock description of how he felt at the end of four days of astute cricket from Durham that saw him take a career-best 6 for 70 as Durham recorded their first ever win at The Oval.
You would be hard-pressed to find anything in colloquial speech that could better describe him; a grin from ear to ear, head bobbing from side to front to side as he completed his post-match interviews in such a happy-go-lucky manner that made you appreciate how nice it is to see a talented young cricketer in the process of turning potential into quality - and a legspinner, no less. Enough to make you "buzz".
"It's nice to bowl the overs and see the ball spin past the bat," Borthwick remarked on day three here. It is a simple statement but one that must buoy any young English spinner trying to forge a first-class career. Here were two of them - Borthwick in the second innings and Ryan Buckley with his five wickets in the first - out-bowling two stalwarts with more than 400 first class games between them in Gareth Batty and Gary Keedy.
Paul Collingwood admitted that he feared the worst when he lost the toss, not least because he was not truly aware of young Buckley's strengths, having only faced him a handful of times in the nets. But he had full faith in his team's dexterity and that, in essence, is what won them the game.
"We've got a very versatile team" Collingwood said. "It was a big loss losing Stokes as a bowler so you've got to change the dynamics of the team around and bring in an extra seamer. It's great when you've got someone like Scotty - he's a genuine allrounder. He can bat at three, so you can be very versatile as a team depending on what the conditions are."
Batty was measured in defeat but unhappy at what he deemed were moments where his batsmen "self-destructed".
"A young fella did really well," Batty said. "Ultimately did we get ragged out? I'm not entirely sure we did and I think we have to take that on the chin and say we've let ourselves down on a few occasions which allowed Durham to come back in. They're a very good team and they punished us for that."
Gary Wilson and Batty did absolutely the right thing this morning, aiming to get value from every shot, either through good placement or hard running. Dawdling would only lead to panic. But having just taken Surrey past 200, they both fell in the space of three balls - Batty lbw to Buckley and Wilson caught by Collingwood at slip off the bowling of Borthwick - leaving Stuart Meaker and Tim Linley to take Surrey's lead to 180. The innings came to a close when both presented Borthwick with two return catches, meaning 19 of the 30 wickets to go had fallen to spin.
As such, Batty shared the new ball with Linley, as Durham were given a target of 181 for victory in just over two sessions. Linley redressed the balance of match wickets when he found some movement away from the right handed Will Smith to take the edge through to Steven Davies with the last ball of the first over.
But that was the only casualty before lunch, as Stoneman and Borthwick looked comfortable going into the break on 39 for 1.
The afternoon session started at a canter for Durham, as the pair continued - Borthwick this time playing the lead as he caught up with Stoneman by punishing anything short from Keedy. He put Linley over the rope for six and then took four from Batty to bring up his second half-century of the match. But Borthwick couldn't follow - trapped in front by Batty, who nearly nabbed Stoneman when he drove wildly outside off that scorched the fingers of Jason Roy at slip.
The introduction of Meaker livened things up as he caught Stoneman on the shoulder with a bouncer and then made a complete mess of his stumps with a searing yorker, and when Benkenstein was early into a shot off Linley - spooning it up to Batty at mid-off - Surrey sensed they were onto something.
But only one further wicket fell - Collingwood bowled - providing Keedy with a wicket to give him match figures of 1 for 125 - before Ben Stokes finished things off with a brace of stylish fours.
It's now three wins in five for Durham this season and eight in the last 11 with Collingwood at the helm. Tipped by many for nothing more than a relegation scrap, they are now top of the table and playing some very smart cricket.