Borthwick turns the screw for Durham
Scott Borthwick’s best bowling performance of the season enabled Durham to take an unexpected advantage against Worcestershire before rain returned on the third day of their LV= County Championship Division One match at New Road.
The 22-year-old leg-spinner claimed impressive figures of 4-37 in 15 overs after sparking off the home side’s collapse to 205 all out when he halted Phil Hughes’ confident progress.
From the time the Australian was adjudged leg before for 87, pushing forward to Borthwick’s fourth delivery, Worcestershire lost eight for 60 and Durham continued to turn the screw with their openers reaching 67 without loss.
Mark Stoneman, playing well for the second time in the match, cruised to an unbeaten 41 from 60 balls and Will Smith survived an early chance in the slips as Durham expanded their lead to 105.
With 33 overs still to bowl, they were aiming to build a match-winning position until the rain set in at tea, and now, with only one day left, a positive outcome is less likely in a meeting of two teams without a championship victory.
In all the weather has taken 119 overs out of the game but, whatever the outcome, there have been some encouraging aspects for the under-achieving northerners.
Following Michael Di Venuto’s mid-season retirement, Stoneman has staked his claim for a regular spot with 79 runs for one dismissal and Borthwick took his first real opportunity in this soggy summer.
Having broken into England’s one-day set-up last August, his bowling has almost slipped off the radar on seamer-friendly pitches. In the first half of the campaign, he delivered 17.5 overs in the championship for a solitary wicket taken as long ago as April.
His intervention here came in response to a flying start by Worcestershire. With 45 runs added to the overnight 100 for two, it was a vital breakthrough when he trapped Hughes after the opener had hit 17 fours.
What came next was a double gift as Moeen Ali and Matt Pardoe both shovelled catches to Michael Richardson on the midwicket boundary.
When Borthwick took his fourth wicket, diving forward to hold a return chance to remove James Cameron for 24, the innings was in full retreat.
Jack Shantry did manage to chisel out a batting bonus point with last man Alan Richardson, but paceman Chris Rushworth finished the job with three scalps in his post-lunch spell.