Stokes helps Durham rally
Durham recovered from 94 for five to make 250 after being put in by Somerset skipper Marcus Trescothick on the opening day of LV= County Championship action at the Emirates Durham ICG.
Although a healthy crowd retained their woolly hats and gloves, conditions eased as the morning murk gave way to a pleasant afternoon.
Ben Stokes led the riposte with a restrained innings of 49, which came after Durham had slipped from 31 without loss to 43 for three.
Stokes faced 110 balls but spoiled his hard work by getting out to left-arm spinner George Dockrell’s fourth delivery.
Stokes put on 60 with fellow left-hander Phil Mustard, who played well for 39 before he too surrendered to the 20-year-old Dubliner, offering a soft return catch.
The rest of the wickets were shared by the three senior seamers, Peter Trego, Steve Kirby and Alfonso Thomas, although they probably did not find as much help on the easy-paced pitch as they expected.
Somerset’s fourth paceman, Jamie Overton, was preferred to his twin Craig and produced a lively display, but was out of luck on his 19th birthday.
There were three catches for Craig Kieswetter, who was handed the gloves in preference to Jos Buttler.
Mark Stoneman and Keaton Jennings survived the first 13 overs with few problems, but Trego and Kirby each took a wicket just when it looked as though the new ball had been seen off.
Stoneman pushed forward and was bowled by a ball from Kirby that nipped into him slightly, then Durham’s ex-captains Will Smith and Dale Benkenstein scored one between them.
Jennings shouldered arms and was bowled by Thomas in the over before lunch, while current skipper Paul Collingwood made 11 before falling lbw to the hard-working Trego.
The recovery begun by Stokes and Mustard was continued by Scott Borthwick, who made 45 before he was last out, bowled by Kirby with 16 balls of the day’s scheduled allocation remaining.