Jamie Harrison is awarded his representative cap
After winning the toss and electing to bat first Durham went on to reach 353-8 by the close of play on day one at Taunton with Will Smith notching up the first competitive century of the season
This match saw a return to four day cricket for Ben Stokes as well as a change to the bowling line up with Stephen Harmison and Liam Plunkett set to appear for the first time in the Championship this season. Jamie Harrison was named as the third seamer and before play began he was awarded his representative cap by captain Phil Mustard and will become the 121st player to represent Durham in first class cricket.
Michael Di Venuto, who was dropped on 38 by Peter Trego, batted fluently bringing his 53 ball fifty up with a six over mid wicket before eventually being caught behind off Alfonso Thomas, four runs short of his century.
Will Smith continued to dig in as Mark Stoneman joined him at the crease and went on to reach his half century, which included eight fours and a six, from 108 deliveries.
The pair guided Durham passed the 200 mark, claiming the sides second batting point of the season, adding a 78 run partnership to the total.
Durham were 232-2 after Stoneman was run out by Jos Buttler from the covers after being sent back attempting a quick single.
Smith went on to score the first competitive hundred of the season from 193 deliveries, which included 12 boundaries and two maximums, just before tea break.
The centurian was dismissed after the break, without adding to his total, when he was caught by Alfonso Thomas off the bowling of Jamie Overton with the Durham total at 265-3.
The visitors were 285-4 after Paul Collingwood was caught by Arul Suppiah off the bowling of George Dockrell for 12.
Ian Blackwell became Overton’s second victim when he was caught by Nick Compton on 7.
Ben Stokes steadied the innings with a confident fifty, from 67 balls which included seven fours and a maximum, which also steered Durham past the 300 mark, claiming their third batting point.
Liam Plunkett joined Phil Mustard at the crease with the total at 326-6 after Stokes was run out by Overton on 60.
The captain added 20 before he was caught in the deep by Dockrell off Peter Trego just after the fourth batting point was secured. Callum Thorp left the field without scoring after becoming Trego’s second wicket when he was caught by Barrow.
At the end of day one Durham were 353-8, with Liam Plunkett 7* and Jamie Harrison 3*.
At the close Durhamccc.co.uk spoke to Will Smith, “I think we’re below par, when you win the toss and bat first at Taunton you want to get a good first day where you are 3, 4 or 5 down. Obviously losing eight wickets is disappointing but on the positive side of things we’ve got a score on the board which helps. If you last two wickets can eke out another fifty then we’ll definitely be in with a good shout. If we bowl and field well, who is to say we won’t have a first innings lead.”