Durham v Yorkshire, Chester-le-Street, 2nd day May 15, 2008

Yorkshire undone by Onions

John Ward at Chester-le-Street

Durham 406 (Di Venuto 184, Wiseman 60, Bresnan 4-73) and 16 for 0 lead Yorkshire 194 (Rashid 70, Onions 5-75) by 228 runs

Graham Onions: turned in a superb display of pace bowling © PA Sport
Perhaps Graham Onions took it as a personal insult to be omitted from England's Test match line-up. It certainly appeared so at the Riverside Ground, as he turned in a superb display of pace bowling to destroy Yorkshire's top-order batting, taking 5 for 75 and putting his team in line for a big victory. At the close, Durham led by 228 runs after bowling Yorkshire out for 194.

The scorecard will show the leading Yorkshire wickets shared between Onions and Steve Harmison, but it was the younger man who really did the job. Harmison put his first five balls fast down the leg side and was quite unable to find a consistent line to Yorkshire's numerous left-handers; in a one-day match he would have been a total liability, but in the first-class game he was able to get away with it, as his extra pace made it difficult for the batsmen to get a bat on those beyond their pads. Yet he produced the occasional ripper, turning his very inconsistency into a virtue on this occasion. Batting against him was a little like playing Russian roulette.

It was Onions' 12-over opening spell (11 on the trot after lunch) that was brutally incisive and he turned in a spell worthy of any international bowler. He was quick and mean, moving the ball disconcertingly, mainly away from the left-handers. Neil McKenzie at first slip received three chances in 20 minutes immediately after lunch; he missed the first, Adam Lyth off Onions, but held on to the next two, one removing Lyth from a ball that Harmison suddenly put on the spot, and the other off Onions to send back the other opening batsman, Joe Sayers.

Yorkshire added to their own problems when Anthony McGrath chanced a quick single into the leg side, only to be brilliantly run out by a direct hit from substitute Will Gidman. Andrew Gale flattered briefly only to deceive, caught at second slip off another Onions peach, while Gerard Brophy threw his wicket away with a wild slash, the only wicket Onions did not really earn. Next ball at the other end Jacques Rudolph drew the straight one from Harmison and edged to the keeper; Yorkshire's top six had gone for 50.

Adil Rashid and Tim Bresnan have shown Yorkshire grit with the bat before and they did so again now, seeing Onions off and steadily building a stand. Bresnan took the initiative early on, taking most of the bowling and scoring the bulk of the runs, but Rashid gradually found his confidence and played some good strokes.

When Onions returned for a second spell, the batsmen launched into him with fine spirit for several overs, until the bowler, pride stung, suddenly produced a snorter which ripped out Bresnan's middle stump.

Rashid found unexpected support from Deon Kruis, who mixed solid defence with occasional judicious hits; at one stage he launched Paul Wiseman high over midwicket for six. They added 55 for the ninth wicket, with Rashid running to his fifty off 88 balls. Then both fell in successive balls, Kruis (22) caught in the slips off Mark Davies and Rashid (70), slogging as he did several times late on, caught at the wicket off Harmison.

Durham surprised most people by declining to enforce the follow-on. With Michael Di Venuto having hurt a finger in the field, Ben Harmison opened, and saw out the day with Mark Stoneman.

The day began with Di Venuto, in sight of a double-century, being trapped lbw by Bresnan off the second delivery. This was Yorkshire's only success for a while, as Wiseman, who finished with a dogged but invaluable 60, and Onions showed great determination to build on their total, no matter how long it required, in the face of quality seam bowling by Darren Gough and Bresnan.

It took Yorkshire almost until lunch to dismiss Durham for 406. Kruis came on to claim the last two wickets, but the most credit belonged to Bresnan, who enjoyed a good all-round day despite the tribulations of his team. He rarely looked threatening in the way Onions did, but he did a good, sound, accurate job in the traditional county way, finishing with 4 for 73. Yorkshire are sure to need more from him before the match is over.