Cricket: Lehmann leaves Durham gloomy

Yorkshire 269-5; Durham 167 Yorkshire win by 102 runs
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The Independent Online
HAVING made it to the last eight in the last year of the Benson and Hedges Cup, Durham's chance of reaching the semi-finals vanished in gloom and drizzle here yesterday. Yorkshire's 50-over total - built around the Gold Award winner Darren Lehmann's forceful 119 - might never have been within the scope of a Durham side lacking the injured John Morris but their captain, David Boon, might nonetheless wonder why he turned down the opportunity at least to delay the inevitable.

The Tasmanian batsman, still in some discomfort after breaking a toe only two weeks ago, was offered the chance to retreat to the dressing- rooms as what had been a sunny sky disappeared behind a blanket of grey. Durham at the time were 61 for 2 and the light was never to improve noticeably.

The decision to stay on did not look at all clever when his own departure precipitated a collapse in which the last seven Durham wickets fell for 79 in 15 overs on the pitch used for last Sunday's Texaco Trophy match. Simon Brown could not bat because of a knee injury that may need surgery.

Yorkshire's total concealed a horrendous start in which they lost two wickets for two runs in the opening two overs after Boon had put them in. Melvyn Betts delivered the first blow, inducing Alex McGrath to give a catch to Boon himself at first slip. Then Brown, playing his first competitive cricket of the season, had the Yorkshire skipper, David Byas, caught behind.

Brown later had to be helped from the field in pain but not before he had bowled his 10 overs unchanged for only 28 runs. Although Lehmann hit him for three fours in one over, he was the only Durham bowler Lehmann and Michael Vaughan did not punish in a partnership that grew from careful beginnings to establish a county competition record for the third wicket.

The Australian survived one sharp chance to point when he was on 36 but that was the only opportunity offered to the visiting side before Vaughan, in an attempted sweep, became the first of two victims for the former Sussex off-spinner Nicky Phillips. The duo added 184 in 39 overs.

Lehmann, who cleverly picked the gaps in the field and hit the ball with increasing power as his confidence grew, reached 119 off 133 deliveries, hitting 13 fours before a brilliant catch behind the wicket denied him any more. For good measure, he took the last two Durham wickets to boot.