Durham on top in basement battle
Surrey captain Gareth Batty was left to rue his decision to field first as fellow strugglers Durham gained the upper hand on day one of their crucial LV= County Championship clash at the Emirates Durham ICG.
The hosts currently lie bottom of Division One, but only 16 points separate them from reigning champions Lancashire and Surrey, who lie sixth and seventh respectively.
After winning their last championship fixture, against Middlesex, Durham further boosted their survival hopes today by dismissing their opponents for 129.
Paul Collingwood’s side then closed on 119 for four, the captain having shared an unbroken stand of 61 with Dale Benkenstein, who reached stumps on 40, to put Durham on top.
Ben Stokes and Chris Rushworth were chiefly responsible for Surrey’s struggles with the bat as they exploited moisture in the wicket by returning 4-40 and 3-36 respectively.
Persistent rain ensured only 8.1 overs were possible at Taunton, where Nottinghamshire reached 18 for one after being invited to bat by fellow title-chasers Somerset.
Riki Wessels departed to what turned out to be the final ball of a frustrating opening day when he was caught at second slip off Peter Trego.
Neil McKenzie’s half-century helped Division Two promotion-chasers Hampshire enjoy the best of proceedings at Bristol, in another match heavily disrupted by inclement weather.
McKenzie contributed 52 not out to a score of 104 for two in 26.4 overs after Gloucestershire had added just six to their overnight 265 for eight.
Hampshire will begin day three trailing by 167, with veteran Australian Simon Katich their other unbeaten batsman.