Durham race home on Di Venuto ton

Lv County Championship

Michael Di Venuto

Michael Di Venuto wasted little time in racing to a century and setting up a fourth successive championship win

LV= County Champions Durham rushed to their fourth successive victory this morning as Michael Di Venuto’s century secured a five-wicket victory over ailing Worcestershire at Chester-le-Street.

Durham’s lead at the top will be extended to 17 points over Nottinghamshire, assuming the rain at Trent Bridge consigns the match against Lancashire to a draw.

With rain forecast to arrive at Riverside at around 1pm, Durham were anxious to gather the 115 runs they needed as quickly as possible when they resumed on 64 for one with Di Venuto on 43.

In fact the target was reached off only 20 overs, with victory was achieved at 12.14, 20 minutes before the rain arrived.

“The target was to get there by lunch, but it’s just as well we did it more quickly,” said Di Venuto after his third championship hundred of the season, compiled from 123 balls.

“When I was batting with Ian Blackwell he told me I could get to three figures, but I said we should just get the job done. Then he got out and things just fell my way.

“We are playing some terrific cricket at the moment. The first two days in this match cancelled each other out when it was hot and humid and the ball was swinging. But it was a good pitch and they’d be disappointed with their second innings total.”

The defeat left Worcestershire firmly marooned at the foot of the table. They gave only two overs this morning to Kabir Ali because of various niggles following his 6-68 in the first innings.

Kabir was replaced by Matt Mason, whose first ball was pulled by Di Venuto straight to long leg, where Alexei Kervezee dropped a straightforward chance. The one run gained from the stroke took Di Venuto to fifty off 77 balls.

Will Smith, Gordon Muchall and Dale Benkenstein all scored quickly before they fell to edged catches and Mason picked up his third wicket when Blackwell went for a big drive and skied a catch to extra cover.

That left Phil Mustard to help Di Venuto complete the task and the wicketkeeper earned praise from his partner for his unbeaten 63 in the first innings.

“That was an outstanding innings and continued Phil’s improvement,” said Di Venuto. “It got us up level with their total, and we knew if we did that we would have a good chance of winning the game.”

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