Warks break Di Venuto resistance
Warwickshire fought back strongly late on the second day of their LV= County Championship clash with Durham, helped by an injury to Michael Di Venuto.
The opener tweaked a muscle in his leg in taking a single on 95 and was forced to send for a runner. He was severely restricted in his movement but soldiered on as wickets began to fall following his opening stand of 164 with Will Smith.
Those runs were gathered at four an over, but the impressive Rikki Clarke applied the brakes and had Di Venuto caught behind for 113 while conceding only 20 runs in 14 overs.
Durham closed on 230 for five in reply to 429, with nightwatchman Graham Onions falling to Boyd Rankin after failing to shift the Irishman in the morning.
Warwickshire had slumped from 328 for four to 349 for nine when two wickets fell in the day’s first four overs, bringing in Rankin with a best score of 13 behind him.
He contributed 28 to a last-wicket stand of 80 with Chris Woakes, who finished unbeaten on 70 after successfully farming the strike against increasingly dispirited bowling.
Even Ruel Brathwaite could not unsettle Rankin after bowling Andrew Miller to complete his second five-wicket haul in successive games.
Championship debutant Paul Best had pulled Onions’ first ball of the day, a long hop, straight to square-leg.
But after his encouraging return at Headingley two weeks ago, the paceman struggled for rhythm in finishing with 2-106, while Brathwaite claimed 5-75.
With Smith making 66, Durham’s opening stand was worth six more than their best for the first wicket in the championship last season.
Smith was initially the dominant partner. Successive balls from Miller were clipped to the square-leg boundary and he pulled the same bowler for six.
The 50 came up in only the 11th over, but as Smith slowed down Di Venuto twice edged Rankin over the slips for four and began to forge ahead.
He reached his half-century off 71 balls, compared with 101 for Smith, who perished when he edged Woakes to Clarke at second slip.
Woakes nipped one back to have Gordon Muchall lbw just after Di Venuto’s injury and the runs dried up as Ben Stokes struggled. He had made only five off 35 balls by the time Miller skidded one through to win another lbw verdict.
Di Venuto departed six overs from the close before Rankin found steep bounce to force Onions to lob a catch to gully, leaving Ian Blackwell to survive the final three overs with Dale Benkenstein.