|Ground:||Riverside Ground, Chester-le-Street|
|Scorecard:||Durham v Yorkshire|
|Event:||Specsavers County Championship 2016|
DateLine: 21st June 2016
The Yorkshire lower order, marshalled by Tim Bresnan, who scored a valuable fifty, again did a good job for their team at Chester-le-Street today. After a mediocre show by the middle order, they took their team to a first-innings lead of 151 runs. Before close of play the Yorkshire bowlers removed three top Durham batsmen, leaving the home side at the close 53 runs still in arrears, and themselves in a strong position to win the match.
Yorkshire resumed at their overnight score of 129 for four wickets, with Gary Ballance on 35 and Andrew Gale 1. They were positive from the start, both batsmen taking advantage of the opportunity to play some fine cover-drives early on, and it took only fifteen minutes for Ballance to reach his fifty, which came off 61 balls. A further ten minutes later, Yorkshire overtook the Durham score of 172. The weather was quite sunny at this time, although for the rest of the day light cloud predominated, but rain never looked likely.
It looked like fair skies ahead for Yorkshire, metaphorically speaking, but the situation began to change when Gale reached 25, and then clipped one of Ryan Pringles off-breaks to midwicket, hammering his bat petulantly on the ground as he departed at 193 for five. Then followed a slow decline of the middle order. Jack Leaning hammered his first ball, bowled on the leg side, for four, but then rather struggled. He scored only 9 off 23 balls when Graham Onions put him out of his misery by breaking through his defence and bowling him out.
Ballance slowed down rather after the departure of Gale, and on 73 miscued a cut, but was missed by first slip off a difficult chance. It was not expensive for Durham, though, as Onions struck again, squaring him up with another fine delivery and having him caught at second slip for 78. He faced 114 balls and hit eleven fours, the score on his dismissal being 229 for seven.
Bresnan looked confident from the start of his innings, but Chris Rushworth returned to remove Andy Hodd, lbw to a ball that came back in to him for 3; 236 for eight. One run later the lunch interval came with the score 237 for eight wickets, Bresnan on 18 and Josh Shaw yet to score. During the morning session four wickets fell while 108 runs were scored, which does not look too unbalanced, but in this case Durham were probably the happier team as they had pinned Yorkshire back when the visitors could have run away with the match, and must have had high hopes of keeping their deficit to below 100.
Yorkshire, however, do not do tail-end batsmen. There is a distinct shortage of genuine rabbits in their teams, even with injuries to the likes of Ryan Sidebottom and Ryan Brooks. First Josh Shaw played with a broad bat and solid defence in support of Bresnan, who batted capably but never tried to dominate the bowling; patient accumulation was more his preferred game. They put on 43 together in 74 frustrating minutes for Durham by sensible batting and extended Yorkshires lead very usefully.
Scott Borthwick finally bowled out Shaw for an invaluable 24, his highest first-class score to date, but Ben Coad, the last man and 20-year-old debutant, proved just as obdurate. He recorded an unbeaten 17, while Bresnan went on to reach his fifty off 106 balls. After reaching the landmark he looked to indulge in some selective big hitting, with a couple of powerful boundaries before he finally hit a catch straight to deep midwicket. His final score was 63, scored off 124 balls with six fours. The Yorkshire total was 323, a lead of 151, and this time Yorkshire were no doubt the happier team when the interval was taken at the close of the innings.
This time 86 runs had been scored in the session, but only two wickets had gone down, and much credit must go to the character of Yorkshires last two and very inexperienced batsmen. Their contribution was invaluable to their team.
Taking advantage of a few rather loose deliveries, Mark Stoneman scored 15 runs off the first two overs of Durhams second innings. Coids first three overs went for 21 runs, and when the usually economical Steve Patterson replaced him, Keaton Jennings hit him for two successive fours. Such enterprise did not last, though, but the score had reached 46 in the ninth over when Stoneman (28 off 28 balls) drive a return catch straight back to Bresnan.
The loss of the captain certainly slowed the Durham momentum. Borthwick, according to a section of the press likely to return to the national Test team, played with great care, taking 27 balls to score 4 runs. Then Adam Lyth came on to bowl Yorkshires first over of spin during the match; the fifth ball kept unexpectedly low and Borthwick played over the top of it and was bowled; 65 for two.
Jack Burnham, in next, struggled to keep the score moving, and in the end, frustrated by the accuracy of Patterson, he went across his stumps in an effort to hit a straight ball through the leg side, and was trapped lbw for 8, scored off 35 balls. Jennings and the next batsman, Mark Richardson, then concentrated on seeing out the day, which they did successfully.
At the close Jennings had 46 and Richardson 6, but their team was still 53 runs behind. A three-day defeat looks quite possible for Durham, unless they can find batsmen to pull the match from Yorkshires grip.
(Article: Copyright © 2016 John Ward)
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