Onions best as Durham win

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Graham Onions

Graham Onions © Getty Images

Graham Onions improved his career-best figures for the second time in the match as Durham beat Middlesex by 135 runs in the Liverpool Victoria County Championship Division One at Chester-le-Street.

Resuming on 87 for four in pursuit of a target of 368, Middlesex were all out for 232 when Chris Silverwood slogged Onions to mid-off in the fifth over after lunch.

That left the 23-year-old paceman from Gateshead with 4-56 following his 4-82 in the first innings.

“He has worked very hard on all aspects of his game,” said Durham coach Martyn Moxon. “He’s very keen to improve and is bowling with genuine pace. It’s very rewarding for all of us who have worked with him in strengthening his action to stop him falling away.”

Durham have now won two out of three while Middlesex’s third successive defeat has already left them battling against relegation.

When play began on schedule in damp conditions which did not help the bowlers, Jamie Dalrymple and Nick Compton took 31 from the first five overs.

Compton survived a close call for lbw in the opening over, otherwise neither batsman was in any difficulty as the conditions forced home captain Dale Benkenstein to introduce his own gentle medium pace.

Compton had contributed 33 to the stand of 85 when he drove at Ottis Gibson and Phil Mustard dived a long way to his left to hold the inside edge.

Ben Scott played with even greater fluency, while Dalrymple stroked 13 fours in reaching 71 off 97 balls before edging a slower ball from Benkenstein which drifted two feet wide of off stump. Mustard had a simpler task this time in taking his seventh catch of the match.

Scott hit nine boundaries in making 49 from 62 deliveries before dragging a ball from Callum Thorp into his stumps.

Having bowled only two overs at the start, Onions returned after lunch to complete the job he began by clean bowling Ed Smith and Ben Hutton in the second over of the innings on Friday.

Johann Louw played round a straight one to be lbw then Melvyn Betts had his off bail trimmed by Gibson before Silverwood surrendered.

Middlesex’s director of cricket, John Emburey, felt the match hinged on Ed Joyce dropping Jimmy Maher at second slip on the first morning. Maher, on four at the time, compiled a gritty century while his fellow opener Jon Lewis made 99 off 291 balls in the second innings. Middlesex showed little inclination to match that sort of application.

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