Cricket: Botham's timely hint: Dave Hadfield reports from Stockton

Click to follow
The Independent Online
Durham 187 and 355; Worcestershire 277 and 123-2

IAN BOTHAM's first century since Durham's inaugural championship match last season will not rescue them from defeat against Worcestershire, but it delivered the broadest of hints to the England selectors.

Worcestershire finished the day well on the way to the 266 they need for victory, but that should not detract from a Botham innings that was both disciplined and destructive.

Botham left much of the violence in a record Durham sixth- wicket stand to Anderson Cummins, who made 70, as he proceeded to his hundred in a classically correct manner, playing Richard Illingworth with particular watchfulness.

Botham showed less exaggerated respect for the occasional off-spin of Graeme Hick, hitting him for boundaries off successive balls to move from 93 to 101. Off the next delivery he was caught behind - although he was obviously not in complete agreement - essaying a leg glance. But he had contributed a serious innings to raise the equally serious question of whether any other batsmen who can bowl a bit would be likely to do better against Australia at Trent Bridge.

His departure brought Durham, who had been starting to think about setting Worcestershire a challenging target, rapidly down to earth. Eight runs later, the frequently spectacular Cummins was also caught behind, this time off the naggingly accurate Illingworth. With the last ball before lunch the same bowler found the edge of Phil Berry's bat to give Hick a catch at slip.

David Graveney and Chris Scott added 36 before Ken Benjamin took revenge for some disrespectful treatment by knocking Graveney's stumps out of the ground.