|Ground:||Riverside Ground, Chester-le-Street|
|Scorecard:||Durham v Yorkshire|
|Event:||Specsavers County Championship 2016|
Durham v Yorkshire
Close of play, Day 1: Durham (172) v Yorkshire (129/4).
Yorkshires pace bowler Steve Patterson took six wickets for 56 runs with some superb seam bowling to give Yorkshire an advantage in their match at Chester-le-Street which began today. His effort was backed by an aggressive 71 from the opening batsman Alex Lees, but Durham are not out of this match yet, thanks to the pace bowler Chris Rushworth, who took all four Yorkshire wickets to fall before the close.
No toss was necessary for this match, as Yorkshire opted to take advantage of their choice to field. They were without about half of their first-choice players, through international calls and injury, and played a four-man seam attack, including young players Ben Coad, on his first-class début at age 20, and Josh Shaw, with no specialist spinner.
The weather was drizzly at the scheduled start of the match, which was delayed for five minutes, and even then only one over was possible, during which Durham scored 2 runs, before more rain caused a further delay of half an hour. For a while the floodlights were also on, but after midday the clouds began to disperse and the sun shone for much of the afternoon.
Coad bowled a useful first over opposite Tim Bresnan, but Durham made steady progress. Mark Stoneman and Keaton Jennings looked to play positive cricket and for the most part were able to keep the score ticking over with ones and twos. The Yorkshire bowlers were tidy without looking threatening, and found a little help from the pitch. The Durham openers put on 49 in 14 overs together. Then Patterson and Shaw took over the bowling, and in his second over Jennings unwisely shouldered arms to a ball from Shaw that came back and knocked back his off stump; he was out for 20.
The local crowd, numbering several hundred, were no doubt keen to see Scott Borthwick make a good score to increase his chances of selection against Pakistan, but he did not last long. With 2 to his credit, he drove a ball that was not stopped cleanly by Andrew Gale at mid-on, and decided to go for a risky single; however, Gale recovered quickly and threw him out at the non-strikers end. Durham went in to lunch on 72 for two, with Stoneman on 45 and Jack Burnham on 4.
If the morning session had gone fairly evenly, the afternoons play belonged to Yorkshire, as they worked their way through the Durham middle order. During the morning the Yorkshire fielding had not been at its best, and immediately after lunch Burnham was dropped low down by Alex Lees at first slip, which was to prove an expensive mistake.
However, the action happened at the other end, mainly from Patterson. He has a reputation of being reliable but boring, and this afternoon he bowled superbly on a pitch giving him a little help. He made up for the missing of Burnham by moving the ball in to trap Stoneman lbw without adding to his 45, and then made the ball bounce and lift to have Mark Richardson caught at the wicket off his glove for 18.
Paul Collingwood never looked comfortable during his brief stay, and eventually sliced a ball from Patterson to backward point for just 4. Ryan Pringle scored 3 before he had his off stump uprooted by the rampant Patterson, and Durham had had their middle order hollowed out. Patterson had taken four successive wickets to reduce the home team to 110 for six.
Burnham was still fighting well, but needed a reliable partner. Usman Arshad made 3 before Bresnan, who was giving Patterson a break, had him caught at the wicket from a lifter. Barry McCarthy proved to be the best partner for Burnham, scoring a dogged 9 runs from 32 deliveries in a stand of 26 that lasted 49 minutes. Finally he returned a catch to Shaw. By tea Durham had reached 155 for eight off 55 overs.
After the interval Patterson returned to polish off the innings. Chris Rushworth (13) and Burnham, last out for 49, both skied catches into the covers as they tried to take him on and paid the penalty. Durham were all out for 172 and Patterson had six wickets in a first-class innings for the first time in his career. He well deserved it for his excellent bowling as the heart of an inexperienced attack. Shaw had two wickets for 38 and Bresnan one.
Yorkshire had 34 overs to face, and so needed to do some hard work to make it their day. Adam Lyth flashed and missed at his first ball from Rushworth, and did not look altogether secure during that first, maiden, over. There was still some movement for Rushworth and Graham Onions, and Alex Lees also was tested at first. But after three overs the ball suddenly began to find the middle of Leess bat with great regularity, and with his upraised bat he made the runs flow, hitting threes and fours almost at will.
Lyth began to gain in confidence, but he was not to last long. Another flash at a ball from Rushworth brought an edge to the keeper and he was gone for 12, the opening stand having put on 30 in 6.2 overs. The ghosts of Sutcliffe and Hutton may have been looking down and telling each other, It is magnificent but it is not cricket.
Kane Williamson came in, and had scored 2 when a superb delivery from Onions pierced his defence and went all through him without managing to hit the stumps. When he had 8 Rushworth had a very close appeal for lbw rejected. Lees had settled down a bit now, but another four over the covers brought up the Yorkshire fifty in the thirteenth over. But then Williamsons time ran out, as Rushworth produced a fine lifting ball that resulted in a fine catch, as the batsman fended it into the slips. He scored 10; Yorkshire were 54 for two.
Gary Ballance began his innings with some confident pulls and drives, and Lees reached his fifty off 56 balls, out of 84. He continued on his merry way, the cut now being his most prolific stroke. The team hundred came up in the 25th over, as play continued after 6.30 to make up for the lost time.
Leess innings came to an end just before the close, however, as Rushworth returned and scattered his stumps with a full-length delivery. Lees scored 71 off 78 deliveries, and hit ten fours. Patterson came in as night-watchman, but Rushworth spoiled his day for him by bowling him too, second ball, without scoring and reducing Yorkshire to 125 for four.
Andrew Gale came in now to see Yorkshire through to the close, scoring a single, while Ballance is still there with 35. Thanks to Rushworth, Durham fought back, but still have to dismiss the powerful Yorkshire tail.
(Article: Copyright © 2016 John Ward)