Blackwell denies Somerset
Ian Blackwell shook off his poor batting form to defy his former Somerset colleagues as Durham hung on for a draw in the LV= County Championship match at the Emirates Durham ICG.
The hosts’ lead was 88 with 11.5 overs left when last man Ruel Brathwaite joined Blackwell. Had Somerset removed him straightaway they might have had a chance, but five balls later Brathwaite survived a very sharp chance to the diving Alex Barrow at third slip off Peter Trego.
Blackwell, who had totalled 70 runs in seven previous championship innings, was also missed at second slip by Trego off Vernon Philander on 25. The left-hander was unbeaten on 38 when hands were shaken with Durham on 234 for nine, leading by 92.
Philander appeared reluctant to bend his back and took only one wicket today, while young seamers Craig Overton and Craig Meschede performed impressively to take six scalps each in the match.
After the second and third days were washed out play began 40 minutes late today with the umpires concerned about a squelchy area off the bottom edge of the square.
Craig Kieswetter, unbeaten on 60 when Somerset resumed on 220 for eight, was left stranded on 96 when they were all out for 267.
Graham Onions moved one sharply away off the pitch to have Max Waller caught behind, but Kieswetter did a fine job of protecting last man George Dockrell from the strike.
Callum Thorp posed little threat and Kieswetter smashed him for two fours in an over before swinging a good-length ball from Onions high over the midwicket boundary.
When Mitchell Claydon came on his second ball received the same treatment and, having taken a wicket in his first over, he finished with 1-71 from 9.2.
The end came when Kieswetter sought a second run to deep midwicket and left Dockrell with no chance of beating Mark Stoneman’s throw to the non-striker’s end.
Trailing by 142, Durham had 71 overs to survive and it looked like being a stroll as the openers put on 61.
Will Smith fell for 22 when he reached for an away-swinger from Trego and edged to second slip.
Michael Di Venuto then spooned a catch to cover on 38, but Paul Collingwood profited from Somerset’s lack of resources.
When the injury-hit visitors turned to their fifth seamer, Lewis Gregory, he began with two wides and then bowled two long hops, which the batsman cracked to the cover boundary.
Overton gained lbw verdicts to remove Collingwood for 36 and Mark Stoneman for 32, and Somerset kept chipping away, only for Blackwell to deny them a deserved win.