Durham surge towards retaining title
Durham 273 and 106 for 2 (Di Venuto 41*, Chanderpaul 41*) beat Warwickshire 135 and 238 (Troughton 111, Davies 3-19, Blackwell 3-44) by eight wickets
Despite a fighting century by James Troughton, Durham predictably romped to victory in their home match against Warwickshire, with eight wickets to spare in the end. This was their seventh championship victory of the season, and it would take events of remarkable proportions now to prevent them from retaining their title.
Warwickshire began the day on 127 for 4, still 11 runs behind Durham's first-innings total. Their hopes of turning the tables on their hosts depended almost entirely on the overnight batsmen, Troughton (55) and Rikki Clarke (7), as they carried a long tail. They made Durham work hard during a morning session that lost half an hour to rain. The home team might have broken through early, as Troughton got a leading edge and the bowler, Callum Thorp, just failed to hold a difficult chance.
Troughton made most of the running as Warwickshire erased their deficit, being particularly efficient on the pull when the bowlers pitched short. Clarke played a mainly defensive role but, when Ian Blackwell came on to bowl his left-arm spin, he made the fatal mistake of trying to hit him for a straight six before having a look at him, and skied a catch that was well held by mid-off running back. This brought in the 17-year-old Birmingham-born Ateeq Javid, who played an admirable innings for his partner and his team. Batting with great patience, he took 36 balls to get off the mark, but his adhesiveness enabled Troughton the freedom to continue his fine innings without having to worry about what was happening at the other end.
The morning session of 90 minutes' play brought 49 runs, of which 38 were scored by Troughton. He reached his century with a dab for a single past point off Blackwell, having taken 207 balls to reach three figures. He'd moved to 111 from 223 balls before he was finally deceived by Blackwell's arm ball, which had him caught at slip. His fighting and well-judged innings, with indifferent support for much of the time, did him great credit.
However, the last four wickets tumbled for 10, mostly to the nagging accuracy of Mark Davies. Javid began to play with more aggression now his senior partner had gone, but Davies had him caught at the wicket driving for 21 after facing 119 balls in more than two hours. His determination and patience may well point to a substantial career. The innings closed for 238, with three wickets each for Mitchell Claydon, Davies and Blackwell. Davies' three cost him only 19 runs, and his bowling exemplified the same appreciation of the timeless basics of the game as were shown in Javid's batting.
Durham needed 101 to win, which appeared to be a mere formality for the reigning champions. They lost the wicket of Mark Stoneman before tea, flashing outside the off stump to be caught behind off the bowling of Naqaash Tahit for 5. After the interval Will Smith edged a ball from Chris Woakes into the slips to depart for 11, leaving Durham but 38 for 2.
But from that point they charged to their target without a care in the world. Michael Di Venuto and Shivnarine Chanderpaul played their strokes freely and Clarke was particularly expensive, with Chanderpaul hitting the first two balls he delivered for four. He also won the match by driving Ant Botha for six, catching Di Venuto so that both batsmen finished on 41; the West Indian needed only 34 balls for his. The Durham bandwagon rolls on apparently unchallenged.