Durham battle in Collingwood's absence
Incoming captain Paul Collingwood was left on the sidelines as Durham’s under-fire batting line-up tiptoed into a new era in their LV= County Championship clash with fellow strugglers Worcestershire at New Road.
With Collingwood forced to delay his return from a broken hand, the bottom-of-the-table visitors made 127 for four in 42 overs after stand-in skipper Dale Benkenstein had lost the toss.
Worcestershire backed up their decision to field first with two wickets each for Alan Richardson and Jack Shantry, but Durham did receive some plaudits for the way they coped with tricky conditions in the morning.
Richardson marked his return from injury with a good delivery, which Will Smith steered to Moeen Ali at third slip, and he might have enjoyed a further success when Gordon Muchall was missed behind the wicket after starting with two fours.
With Richardson in particular moving the ball around, Muchall and Mark Stoneman got through to lunch in a partnership that was worth 63 by the time Worcestershire stoked up some momentum.
The afternoon was then interrupted by showers but, when play resumed, Vikram Solanki ran back from first slip to hold an awkward chance when Stoneman, on 38, top-edged a pull off Richardson, who took 2-31.
Left-arm seamer Shantry, with 2-22, made an impression in his second spell as Muchall edged to Daryl Mitchell at second slip for 25 and a yorker stopped Ben Stokes in his tracks after the positive left-hander had hit a quartet of fours in making 22.
With only two more overs bowled after Stokes’ dismissal, the downpours became heavier and more persistent until the umpires, Steve O’Shaughnessy and Martin Saggers, abandoned play for the day at 5:45pm.
Benkenstein, leading the side in the championship for the first time since April last year, was still there with 16 not out alongside Michael Richardson.
Losing more than half a day was frustrating for two counties who have yet to win a championship game this season.