Durham grateful for Di Venuto
Michael Di Venuto’s 132 held Durham together as the LV= County Championship leaders reached 272 for seven on the first day against Nottinghamshire at the Emirates Durham ICG.
On a day when 23 overs were lost to rain only 55 runs had come off the bat at the other end when Di Venuto reached his third century of the season off 139 balls.
But with Andre Adams taking four wickets to boost his season tally to 49, Durham were rocking on 197 for six, prompting Di Venuto to drop anchor in the final session.
He had all but survived it when he played back and edged Steven Mullaney to wicketkeeper Chris Read in the penultimate over.
With Ben Stokes returning to four-day action in place of the injured Steve Harmison, Durham had opted for the extra batsman and had skipper Phil Mustard going in at number eight.
He survived a streaky start to contribute 45 to his stand of 74 with Di Venuto and was still there at the close, having added one more to his total.
Durham won the toss for the 11th time in 12 championship games and chose to bat, despite the sultry heat providing good conditions for swing bowling.
New-ball pair Darren Pattinson and Charlie Shreck posed little threat as Di Venuto and Will Smith put on 54. But Smith made only 13 of those against his former colleagues before lifting Pattinson to long-leg.
Gordon Muchall survived a big lbw appeal from Pattinson off his first ball and, although he put away several bad balls, notably from Paul Franks, he struggled against Adams, who bowled him for 30.
In his next over Adams had Paul Collingwood caught behind for a duck as the experienced all-rounder tried to withdraw his bat.
Dale Benkenstein contributed only 12 to a fourth-wicket stand of 54 before a thick edge off a forcing back-foot shot was well held by Mullaney at gully.
Stokes was shaping to play through midwicket when he was adjudged lbw to Franks during an improved spell after tea, while Ian Blackwell edged a drive off Adams and was smartly held by Adam Voges.
Mustard survived a difficult chance to Pattinson at mid-on off Shreck on 30, and will be keen to add further runs tomorrow to put the pressure on a team who propose to open the batting with a pair of debutants.
One is Karl Turner, who made his Durham Academy debut in 2004 and became a second-team regular before being released at the end of last season. The other is Sam Kelsall, from Stoke, who has recently featured in England Under-19s one-day international series against South Africa.