Wood's best deepens Surrey slump
Durham 421 (Borthwick 135, Tremlett 8-96) beat Surrey 108 (Harrison 5-31) and 169 (Amla 89, Wood 5-44) by an innings and 144 runs
A raucous rendition of The Blaydon Races resounded from the home dressing room moments after Durham completed an equally resounding victory which elevates them to second in Division One of the County Championship and sets up a mighty showdown with leaders Yorkshire at Scarborough next week. For Surrey the outcome was equally significant but for very different reasons.
Surrey have a game in hand on all their rivals trying avoiding the drop to Division Two but they have yet to win a Championship game this season, and on the evidence of their performance at Chester-le-Street, the wait could be extended. The gap between them and Derbyshire, who are third from bottom, is now 15 points and the two teams will meet at The Oval at the end of next week. That makes the next round as important for those two sides as the game at the seaside in Yorkshire.
When the 2013 season started, Chris Adams was in charge of coaching at Surrey and he brought in a new bowling coach, Stuart Barnes. A poor start to the year led to Adams's dismissal in the middle of June, and the installation of Alec Stewart who predicted an expanded role for Barnes. This had to be daunting, given the underperformance of a side containing several big money imports including Graeme Smith, Ricky Ponting, Vikram Solanki, and now Hashim Amla.
Barnes has become more hands-on as the weeks have passed, and after his side lost by an innings, after winning the toss and choosing to field, he was understandably disappointed. "I think we lost it in the second session of the first day, when we didn't take a wicket," Barnes said.
He spoke of the importance of "bowling partnerships", and acknowledged that Chris Tremlett, while taking eight wickets in the Durham innings, was not well supported at the other end. "We talk long and hard, we make our plans, we practise them, but we don't always execute them on the field".
Surrey's performance had relegation candidates written all over it. In addition to the bowling frailties, their bottom five batsmen added a combined total of 26 in 10 innings. Their capitulation on either side of lunch today, while testament to the skills of the Durham bowlers, looked like that of a side resigned to failure. Hashim Amla made 89, supported stoutly by Zander de Bruyn, whose 12 runs came from 71 balls.
De Bruyn was dropped at leg slip by Keaton Jennings off Mark Wood, then edged the next ball to third slip and this time the chance stuck. Steven Davies, the mainstay of Surrey's first innings, was greeted by an extraordinary field of two slips and three gullies, and the introduction of Chris Rushworth to the attack. "Steve absolutely hates batting against Rushy", Paul Collingwood said at the end of the day, but it was to be a less experienced quick bowler who would initiate the last rites.
Mark Wood's Championship opportunities have been limited this year, but he took his chance today. Collingwood switched him to the Finchale End for the last over before lunch, and he took wickets with the fifth and sixth balls, both caught behind the wicket by Phil Mustard, who claimed six catches in the innings and eight in the match. It seemed emblematic that on a day when resistance was paramount the Surrey captain, Gareth Batty, went first ball, albeit to a very decent ball.
Wood was at it again immediately after lunch, when Gary Wilson swished injudiciously outside his off stump. When Tim Linley top edged a pull and Will Smith pouched it at short leg, it was all over, and Wood had career best figures of 5 for 44.
Surrey had lost their last five wickets for 13 runs in four overs. Stuart Barnes remains upbeat, but he and his team have their work cut out.