August 10, 2000

Speak top scores as Durham take the lead

Staff and agencies

Durham captain Nick Speak produced his highest score of the season as his team reached an unlikely first-innings lead against Kent in the Division One relegation battle at Riverside Stadium, Chester-le-Street.

Fifteen wickets fell before tea as the ball moved around in cloudy conditions as Durham slipped to 130 for eight in reply to the Kent's 170.

Speak, together with Neil Killeen, stayed together throughout the final session, Durham ending the day on 209 for 8. Speak is 79 not out.

Martin Saggers used the conditions well playing against his former county to produce his first five-wicket haul for Kent. He had little support, however, no other Kent bowler claiming more than one victim.

Kent resumed in the morning on 71 for three. Within the space of an over they were 71 for six. Ed Smith edged Simon Brown's second ball to second slip, James Hockley was lbw first ball and three balls later Paul Nixon was caught at short leg.

Shortly afterwards, Brown removed Matthew Walker's off-stump, giving him four for eight in three overs. However his next three overs went for 22 runs.

Matthew Fleming and Martin McCague added 59 in only 12 overs before Fleming (35) cracked a long hop straight to extra cover.

McCague, who clobbered a half-century in 20-balls against Leicestershire on Sunday, made 45 off 44 deliveries today before being bowled by Ian Hunter two balls after changing his bat.

Simon Brown completed his fourth five-fer of the season by trapping David Masters lbw. The former England left-arm pacer took 5/59.

With four overs to bat to lunch Durham slipped to 10 for two. Jon Lewis shouldered arms to the fifth ball and lost his off-stump. Nicky Peng was run out after some excellent fielding by Masters at square leg.

Saggers removed Simon Katich and Paul Collingwood, both lbw, before Speak shared a stand of 55 with Gary Pratt (23) who was making his second championship appearance.

Andrew Pratt played on and John Wood edged to first slip, giving Saggers his five wickets for the innings. The pressure eased on Durham as Saggers tired, with Martin McCague's bowling looking decidedly rusty.

Speak has reached his third half-century of the season. On 79 overnight, he has faced 204 balls and hit five fours, having been at the crease for 276 minutes.