Durham v Surrey, Chester-le-Street, 1st day August 22, 2013

Borthwick keeps Tremlett at bay

Les Smith at Chester-le-Street

Durham 309 for 5 (Borthwick 135, Tremlett 5-51) v Surrey

If anyone in the England camp takes a look at the scorecard from this game, it will be noted that Chris Tremlett, who missed out on selection for the fifth Test at The Oval, was the only name to feature in the Surrey wickets column. A five-for kept his team in touch against Durham and will provide further grist for those questioning England's decision-making.

That the home side were not too inconvenienced by Tremlett was largely down to the efforts of Scott Borthwick, a local lad who made his third first-class century of the season. England may well be interested in that, too.

Durham is a proudly local county cricket club. Every time an outsider visits Chester-le-Street the sense of community and the bond between supporters and players is tangible.

The man who leads them in their cricket, Geoff Cook, Durham's first captain in first-class cricket and now their coach, is a Middlesbrough native. Cook is recovering from a heart attack but the spirit he brought to the club after a career with Northamptonshire and England pervades the place. His captain, Paul Collingwood, born in Shotley Bridge, has been playing for them long enough now to be termed a stalwart, and nobody in Durham will hear a word said against him.

Borthwick and Will Smith, another who warrants acceptance as an adopted son, provided the runs that gave Durham cause for satisfaction at the end of a day which started with Surrey winning the toss and putting the opposition in. Whether Collingwood would have made the same decision as Gareth Batty had the coin landed the other way up is debatable, as his side entered the fixture with a depleted seam attack.

Borthwick, who has been capped three times in limited-overs cricket, is a Sunderland boy and Smith, while born in Bedfordshire, was educated at Durham University. Between them they contributed 222 runs to Durham's effort. Borthwick came to the wicket in the second over of the match after Tremlett had castled Mark Stoneman. Five hours later he had a hundred and until he was dismissed for 135 he never looked remotely vulnerable. He was tidy, compact, and seized on the loose ball to register 21 boundaries.

Smith joined Borthwick after a tumbling slip catch by Zander de Bruyn saw off a promising innings by Keaton Jennings, who added 69 with Borthwick. Then the pair dug in and built a partnership of 183 in a little over 50 overs. Smith fell 13 runs short of a century and Borthwick followed him just before the close of play.

Borthwick's innings leaps off the scorecard but look further down it and you find the other outstanding contribution. Tremlett might not have been expecting to play in this game, but he was released by England and made his way up the A1. His presence in the side might well have influenced Batty's decision to bowl first but, while the outcome at the end of the day might have disappointed, his faith in his bowler was justified.

Tremlett took all five wickets to fall, bowling off 17 precisely calibrated steps before leaping into a colossal delivery stride. His accuracy rarely wavered, as evidenced by an economy rate of 2.31 and the modes of dismissal: one bowled, two lbw, and two caught behind the wicket. It was a joy to watch and he will be a potent asset for England in Australia in the winter - though some will wonder if he could have been as effective in south London this week.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Ray on August 23, 2013, 9:58 GMT

    Personally, if he has given up bowling, I think that it's a shame. I saw Borthwick bowl at the Oval earlier this season and he looked pretty good.

  • Duncan on August 23, 2013, 8:50 GMT

    Why is it that so many aspiring leg spinners end up as better batsmen than bowlers? Steven Smith is the most obvious example, but there's Borthwick, Rashid and a few years back we had Sailsbury and Schofield.

  • GeoffreysMother on August 23, 2013, 8:03 GMT

    Quite right Les to stress the home roots of the club. Even as a Yorkshireman I wish them well. Such clubs deserve to do well as they do the hard yards with home grown talent that serves both county and country well. It is in start contrast to the opponents whose buying in of old stars ( who will avoid national call ups) , overseas stars and established players from other counties does not cast a good light on them (their raids on Worcester seem reminiscent of the Vikings) - especially as they are as populous as any county in the country.

  • Cyril on August 23, 2013, 7:56 GMT

    Hopefully Tremlett has some form to carry him through the rest of the season. He said last week that given a pitch that suits him he reckons he's a good as anyone still.

    Hopefully this will encourage the Oval groundsman to leave a little on the pitch in must win matches. So far this season the pitches have been a disgrace to sport. Only one match has a result (the rest were nowhere near) and that loss to Durham was blamed on a "ridge" that Borthwick (the bowler) exploited.

    Tremlett should have been key to a successful season for Surrey, however it's taken until now for him to turn up. I'm still not sure about these short spells, he's a rhythm bowler who needs time to build pressure. If he cannot trust his body to bowl for longer then these sporadic successes are all he can hope for.

    But it would help if the Oval groundsmen actually prepared a wicket that might, just might see a result in four days.

  • Mark on August 23, 2013, 7:32 GMT

    Chris Tremlett may be suggesting that he should have been playing at The Oval, but, sadly, he has given precious little evidence of it before yesterday. Even with Tremlett's massive performance, Surrey are getting closer and closer to Division 2.

    This season's experiment with a side of cricketing OAPs has been a disaster. Derbyshire look set to win today, Surrey are now bottom of the table and it appears that only a miracle can save them.

    Whatever happens, Surrey have to re-build, re-discover their identity and try to build up a team that will play together for 4 or 5 years at least. That is going to require a major cull of the squad and some faith in the Academy.

  • Dummy4 on August 23, 2013, 0:29 GMT

    Kerrigan's non-performance has bought Monty a ticket to Oz. Tremlett buys his own though, no need for anyone else to fail.

  • Ohhhh on August 22, 2013, 20:39 GMT

    Borthwick has given up on his leg spin (quite rightly, he was absolutely awful and put next to no revs on it!), but he is turning himself into a decent county batsman. Will never play for England again, unless he gets his FC average over 40. But he's improved no end.

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