di venuto shines as wickets tumble
Yorkshire 125 for 7 v Durham 213
Durham's Michael Di Venuto made a fine century but was the only batsman who came to terms with the Chester-le-Street pitch as 17 wickets fell on the first day against Yorkshire. With both teams in contention for the title, Durham recovered from 54 for 5 to reach 213 and Yorkshire reached the close on 125 for 7.
Tim Bresnan left afterwards to link up briefly with the England squad in London, but he was outshone by Ajmal Shahzad, who took a career-best 5for 51. Bresnan took only one wicket but was sent in to bat at number three and made 25 before heading for Newcastle Airport. He will return to Durham on Wednesday if not required for the Oval Test and during his absence will be replaced by Oliver Hannon-Dalby.
Yorkshire put Durham in and the ball nipped around under heavy morning cloud, but Shahzad had to settle for coming on as first change. He pinned Gordon Muchall lbw with his fourth ball and two balls later produced a beautiful delivery to knock over Dale Benkenstein's off stump.
Shahzad later rattled the stumps twice in three balls as he was rewarded for bowling full and straight with just enough movement to beat the bat. The fall of 17 wickets was unlikely to have unduly worried pitch liaison officer Mike Denness. There was some variable bounce, but generally the bowling was better than the batting and only Phil Mustard gave Di Venuto, who made 117, any support for Durham.
Yorkshire's most obvious resistance came from Anthony McGrath, whose 28 not out took him past 1,000 runs for the season, as Mitch Claydon removed the openers and then Steve Harmison took three wickets. Harmison's victims included Yorkshire captain Andrew Gale, who was given out lbw first ball but indicated that he had nicked it.
Two Durham batsmen were also reluctant to depart as neither Mustard, who made 53, nor Mark Stoneman thought they had touched the ball when given out caught behind. Di Venuto edged Steve Patterson just short of Adil Rashid at second slip on 9 and grafted his way to 43 at lunch. Both he and Mustard were beaten in the first few overs of the afternoon, but as the cloud broke up runs suddenly began to flow.
They put on 115 and the next highest stand was 30 for the last wicket, in which Harmison equalled his season's best score of 4. Di Venuto was on 97 when Harmison was dropped at third slip by Jonny Bairstow off Shahzad.
Although he held two catches, that was Bairstow's second miss and it allowed Di Venuto to complete his fourth century in three seasons against Yorkshire. He turned a short ball from Richard Pyrah to fine leg for his 14th four to reach his hundred off 156 balls and straight drove the next for another four to bring up the 200 and earn a batting point.