Pacemen secure Durham victory
Inspired bowling from Durham’s seam quartet earned an unexpectedly comfortable 48-run LV= County Championship Division One victory over Somerset.
Heading into the fourth and final day at the Emirates Durham ICG, it appeared the visitors were favourites having laid the perfect platform pursuing 235.
Craig Kieswetter resumed on 39 of 96 for two, yet could only watch on with partners departing as quickly as they arrived.
Graham Onions was chief tormentor in the early stages as he married movement with good pace to trouble all-comers.
Such efforts earned two of the day’s first three wickets, although the belief he gave his team-mates was perhaps more important.
Indeed, despite Kieswetter’s 72, Chris Rushworth, Callum Thorp and Ben Stokes followed up their attack leader's work to dismiss Somerset for 186 and ensure a perfect start to their campaign.
Last year’s Division One runners-up, having entered the day requiring a further 139 for victory, began confidently as James Hildreth and Kieswetter found early boundaries.
Kieswetter soon brought up his fifty with a four, profiting on a poor piece of fielding from Reece Carr, who – on as substitute due to Will Smith being injured – allowed the ball to go through his legs at mid-on.
Yet the regularity with which the scoreboard was ticking over belied the quality of a fiery spell from Onions.
It eventually proved too much for Hildreth, who – deep in his crease having fortuitously edged over wicketkeeper Phil Mustard for four in the paceman's previous over – fatally shouldered arms to one that nipped back and uprooted off stump.
Following his bowling partner’s lead, Rushworth got in on the act in the next over when trapping Jos Buttler lbw – albeit when the ball appeared to be heading over the stumps.
Alex Barrow fared little better, edging behind from another Onions beauty, and suddenly Durham looked favourites.
Peter Trego briefly turned the momentum with some aggressive off-side strokes, but also fell victim to a tight lbw on 12, Thorp the successful bowler this time.
And when Alfonso Thomas was pinned in front by Stokes, with 83 still required, only one result looked on the cards.
Kieswetter – who had looked largely untroubled – responded by crashing Thorp down the ground for six in the next over, only to then enjoy some fortune.
Having reached 63, he played airily at Thorp and edged to second slip, where Scott Borthwick shelled a diving chance. The drama continued, though, as the youngster made immediate amends by clinging on to oust Jamie Overton later in the over.
As George Dockrell looked unsettled at the other end, Kieswetter was forced into further attack and succumbed, with 60 still required, when trying to hit across the line, Stokes finding enough movement to clatter into middle stump.
Stokes endured frustration after the extra half-hour was taken as Dockrell's edge was tipped in the slips, but Rushworth was on hand to finish the job by having Steve Kirby taken by Dale Benkenstein at mid-off.