Durham sweep past MCC
Durham’s bowlers wasted little time in wrapping up a comprehensive 311-run win over MCC in the first match of the county season.
The champions resumed on day four needing three more wickets to secure victory - and duly mopped up the tail in 45 minutes.
While the setting, the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi rather than a chilly Lord’s, was unfamiliar, Durham’s status as the side to beat in English cricket shows little sign of changing.
Nevertheless, the focus has been less about the build-up to the summer programme and more about the innovations on show, chiefly the use of a pink ball under floodlights.
Durham had looked likely to wrap up victory inside three days until Tim Murtagh and Jon Lewis shared an unbroken 59-run stand for the eighth wicket last night.
Having delayed Durham’s inevitable triumph and ensured their bowlers would have to return for one final push in the sapping heat today, Lewis promptly threw away his wicket off the first ball of the day.
Ian Blackwell was the bowler, but he will take little satisfaction from the delivery, a long hop that Lewis somehow contrived to edge behind. He had made 32.
Steve Harmison, who has looked dangerous when motivated, which has been intermittently at best, needed only eight balls to remove Dean Cosker lbw.
Murtagh, now with only Steve Kirby for company, quickly added the 23 he needed to reach 50 and was dropped by wicketkeeper Phil Mustard off Harmison moments later.
He ended 55 not out as Kirby fell leg before to a googly from 19-year-old leg-spinner Scott Borthwick, who finished with 4-57 and eight wickets in the match.