THE Lara factor gave rise to another healthy turnout here but the latest record bid was put on hold when Durham won the toss. Not to worry. Disappointed spectators were roundly compensated with a double century by John Morris, his first three-figure score for Durham since leaving Derbyshire in the winter.
A hundred by Morris may not be the picture of elegance one can anticipate when the West Indian phenomenon attempts his seventh in eight innings, but what the solid right-hander lacks in lightness of touch is made up for in beefiness.
Morris, seldom inclined to be circumspect, square-cut his first ball for four and reached 27 in seven scoring strokes. It looked suspiciously like an innings that would not last but having indulged his natural instincts and survived, Morris went on.
Durham were two down for 39 inside 75 minutes, Wayne Larkins squirting a low catch to point and Mark Saxelby chopping an inswinger on to his stumps. That wicket was well won by Gladstone Small, who bowled well on a slow pitch that demanded accuracy.
But with the aid of the less adventurous Stewart Hutton, who took 35 minutes to score, Morris steered Durham out of the woods and beyond.
Small and Tim Munton apart, much of the bowling only encouraged Morris, who scored his century in only 108 balls. Richard Davis, Warwickshire's slow left-armer, discovered that even a surface tailored for spin is of little use if the ball does not pitch. Two of his full tosses went for six off the Morris bat. Another six off Roger Twose took him to his first century, off 171 balls.
Davis broke the partnership at 225 but Morris progressed to 204 not out with 24 fours and five sixes, and the highest score by a Durham player.
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