Durham v Lancashire, Chester-le-Street, 4th day June 18, 2014

Rushworth helps Durham resist Buttler

Graham Hardcastle at Chester-le-Street

Durham 338 (Coughlin 85, Hogg 6-70) and 267 (Borthwick 92, Smith 5-42) beat Lancashire 266 (Khawaja 86) and 312 (Buttler 100*, Croft 72, Rushworth 4-45) by 27 runs

It has not been the smoothest of fortnights for Chris Rushworth. Durham's new-ball seamer was the victim of some abusive tweets after conceding 16 runs in the final over of their T20 Blast defeat to Worcestershire at New Road a week ago last Saturday but, today, he responded in the perfect way by helping his county to their first Championship win of the season.

Rushworth played a significant part in an enthralling final day at Chester-le-Street as he completed a haul 4 for 45 from 20.4 overs as the reigning champions defended their target of 340 to win by 27 runs half an hour after tea. It meant that Jos Buttler's first century in a Lancashire shirt came in vain.

Having removed both openers late on the third day, Rushworth returned to get Usman Khawaja caught behind two overs into the morning before wrapping things up by trapping Simon Kerrigan lbw with the second new ball, leaving Buttler stranded on 100 having kept Lancashire alive during the last day.

This win gave Durham significant breathing space at the wrong end of Division One, much to their relief. "It was nice to silence a few critics," said Rushworth before his captain Paul Collingwood sang his praises.

"Chris was outstanding throughout the match," Collingwood said. "He's been outstanding in all three forms of the game. I know there has been one game at Worcester where he didn't quite get it right but the roles he plays, he's on the money all the time. He's a great asset to have."

Lancashire so nearly pulled this game out of the fire from 74 for 4 following the early losses of Khawaja and Ashwell Prince. That owed much to Buttler's fine hundred, his fourth in Championship cricket.

He shared a counter-attacking fifth-wicket partnership of 129 with Steven Croft, who made 72, and showed that he can unite flair with the composure needed to be a success in Test cricket. He reached his century off 131 balls in what turned out to be the final over of the match and did not face another delivery.

"I know I don't have a perfect and traditional technique, so the most important thing for me is the mindset and accepting that I'll hit the ball in different areas to other players," Buttler said. "It's about getting the balance of always looking to score. I think I play better technically when I'm looking to be aggressive."

After the Buttler-Croft alliance, Durham picked up wickets at just the right time. They took three for 24 just before tea to leave Lancahsire 269 for 8, two of them going to the impressive John Hastings, who finished with 3 for 58.

They then broke a dangerous ninth-wicket stand of 40 in 7.3 overs between Buttler and Kabir Ali after they had added 26 in the first four overs after tea in taking the target down to 31 with two wickets in hand.

Lancashire, now 15 points adrift in eighth place having played once more match than Durham, had the game by the scruff of the neck twice across the four days. They had reduced Durham to 184 for 8 in the first innings before letting them get 338 and then had reached 205 for 2 in reply before losing their last eight wickets for 61.

They now face a crucial home match against Northamptonshire, starting on Sunday.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Chris on June 19, 2014, 10:48 GMT

    I enjoy watching cricket even if Lancs are losing, but it's not being negative to say things could have been managed better. I still feel the focus on ground "improvements" has over-ridden the obvious need to improve the squad for a higher level of cricket. A couple of the younger players have shown some promise and that's good news, but not immediately replacing your top run scorer with a proven player of similar ability is no way to approach a season in a higher division. Developing players often respond to the presence of a reliable batsman in the order and, hopefully not permanently, Ashwell Prince alone hasn't been able to do it this season. The unpredictability of the batting has probably affected his form. Thank God for Tom Smith and congrats to Jos Buttler too. I agree with Peter about Steven Croft

  • keith on June 19, 2014, 9:45 GMT

    I would agree with peter4lc, i started watching Lancs in 1970 and whilst i have enjoyed seeing many fine cricketers over the years and limited overs success at various times, i think the greatest sporting joy for me was the Championship win in 2011(along with United winning the Treble in 99). My Father too had been watching and following Lancashire since the Forties and was also ecstatic when they finally achieved the Championship win, it was also the last summer he was able to enjoy any cricket and he sadly passed away last year but what they achieved that summer was magical. Lancs have always provided some mixed emotions but there are always players who surpassed expectations, the side of 2011 was largley unfancied. There is still time to stay up, after a decent debut from Khawaja so keep the faith and as peter says get behind them

  • Peter on June 19, 2014, 7:45 GMT

    I follow cricket because I enjoy it and can only conclude that some regular contributors do not, so negative are their comments. I first watched Lancs in 1977 and thought as late as the morning of 15 Sept 2011 that they might not win a Championship in my lifetime. If, on that morning, I had been given the choice of (a) runners-up for the next 4 seasons or (b) the Championship followed by relegation, promotion and relegation again, I would of course have taken (b). The memory of that day will always be with me, and also with my father who first watched them in 1948. Let's just be thankful to the team for that, and get behind them while they are currently struggling. There were positives in this game, and the previous contributor seems not to recognise Croft's part, for example, in getting Lancs so close. I went to the second day, incidentally, and despite the collapse did not go home filled with gloom, having enjoyed the ebb and flow and some hard-fought cricket.

  • Dummy4 on June 18, 2014, 21:28 GMT

    Not good enough Lancs. Let Durham get at least 100 more than they should have and then collapsed from 205 for 2, even in Durham's second knock we had them 66 for 4.0.Back to division 2 and the only players from todays team i would keep are Davies, Smith, Hogg, Ali, Buttler and Kerrigan. Not a very good prospect is it.

  • Roshan on June 18, 2014, 18:03 GMT

    He's doing all right at first-class level actually, so if you look at Buttler's average for this season it is much better than for his entire career. If he improves his keeping I have no doubt he'll make it in to the Test side.

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