Captain's Century Puts Champions In Charge


Paul Collingwood celebrates reaching a century on his return (photo: Rob Smith)

Stumps, day 2: Durham (1st innings 487 all out) v Durham MCCU (1st innings 7-0) at Emirates Durham ICG.

After a washout on day one, Durham made the most of sunny conditions on Tuesday as they racked up over 400 runs against Durham University. Paul Collingwood scored a century on his return to county duty, whilst three home batsmen made half-centuries.

Durham's skipper hasn't featured in any pre-season games due to his coaching commitments with England but he quickly found form against the student bowling attack. Scott Borthwick, Michael Richardson and Phil Mustard were also among the runs as the county champions enjoyed some valuable time at the crease before the championship campaign starts on Sunday.

Visiting captain Freddie Van Den Bergh won the toss and elected to bat first, which was a decision that paid immediate dividends. In the opening over Mark Milnes got through Keaton Jenning's defensive shot to bowl the opener for a second ball duck. Mark Stoneman, fresh from a century against MCC, looked to be in good shape as he raced to 17 before he saw his off stump uprooted thanks to an excellent delivery by Liam Dixon. That left the county champions in a spot of trouble at 25-2, but a stand of nearly 100 between Scott Borthwick and Michael Richardson eased the pressure.

Borthwick, who is currently nursing a side strain, showed no ill-effects as he reached his half-century just over half an hour before the lunch interval. However, after nudging a single into the onside to reach his 50, he was then struck on the pad with the next delivery he faced to give Milnes his second scalp.

Michael Richardson and Phil Mustard got Durham through to the lunch interval, with Richardson able to pass fifty after he found the third man boundary twice in quick succession thanks to two late cuts off the bowling of Milnes. Milnes would have a say in Richardson's dismissal though, as he caught a miscued hook shot from the South African.

Although Durham had scored at a brisk rate throughout the day, the hosts really began to go on the offensive when Paul Collingwood joined Mustard at the crease. Both batsmen sailed past 50, with Collingwood's coming at more than a run a ball. Mustard looked to be on course for three figures until he drove hard at a delivery from left arm spinner Chaitanva Bishnoi and Van Den Bergh took a sharp catch at slip. Gareth Breese then fell cheaply to the last ball before tea, as he struck a long hop from leg-spinner Cameron Steel straight to deep midwicket.

Collingwood continued to bat with freedom and he brought up his 100 with a single through square leg. After only returning from the ICC World T20 last week, this was an important innings for the skipper ahead of the first match of the county season against Northamptonshire. He fell soon afterwards, but his side had already passed 400 by that point. Graham Onions (40*) and Chris Rushworth (27) then added 66 for the final wicket to help post 487. 

This gave Durham a 15 minute window to test the visitors batsmen, but Cameron Steel and Hugo Darby survived until the close.

Play on day three is due to start at 11am. Entry is free.

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