DURHAM APPLIED themselves with the bat yesterday much as they had done with the ball. The result was not only a position of some ascendancy but two innings of great therapeutic value for Mike Roseberry and Jimmy Daley, who might be described as long-suffering batsmen.
Neither has made the quantity of runs expected, no doubt mostly due to the problems of batting at the Riverside Ground in the early days of its new square. If they could have prescribed a cure it would have involved a mild pitch with negligible movement, a below-strength seam attack and strictly no risk of being rapped on the gloves every other over.
They took one dose before lunch and another before tea with the result that Daley made his second championship hundred and his first since 1994. Roseberry helped him to add 204 for the third wicket, one short of the county record, until, agonisingly, he fell needing three for his first century for Durham, although he has made 19 elsewhere.
The importance of this sub-plot to Durham could not be overemphasised. Now they have some lively bowlers coming through, they would like to see a youngish batsman, preferably locally born, establish himself. Thus Daley and Roseberry may well have seen their futures flashing before their eyes as they dug in.
Roseberry, at 20, almost played on to Trevor Smith, which might have convinced him that his day had arrived at last. He had not passed 50 since July 1996. A handful of typically robust blows off the back foot suggested a return of confidence and it was hard not to sympathise when, after 291 balls, Kevin Dean, armed with the new ball, hit his off-stump with a yorker.
Daley, whose previous three-figure score was made four years ago, had one or two alarms, but by the end he was driving through the covers with something like elan and his dismissal, after 289 balls and 23 fours, probably owed as much to weariness as anything.