County Championship round-up: Durham's bowling attack in rude health


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The Independent Online

Bowler of the day

One of the noteworthy aspects of Durham's 2013 County Championship title success was that it came with their bowling attack in transition. One by one, Steve Harmison, Liam Plunkett, Ian Blackwell, Mitch Claydon, Mark Davies and Callum Thorp had all left the stage, or at least stepped into the wings, since the 2009 Championship season, leaving Graham Onions as effectively the sole survivor. Into their shoes have stepped Chris Rushworth, Mark Wood, Scott Borthwick, Ben Stokes, Jamie Harrison and, as late as August last season, Usman Arshad.

Seamers Arshad and Harrison shared 30 wickets after they were introduced in tandem for the last four matches last year and have begun the new campaign in similar form.

Bradford-born Arshad finished with 4 for 78 and Harrison 3 for 83 against Northamptonshire at Wantage Road, where Onions returned a less impressive 1 for 86 as Durham secured a 74-run first-innings lead.

Batsman of the day

Having reassured the selectors of his own rude health with a century on Monday, England captain Alastair Cook had his eyes on a double for Essex at Chelmsford in the Second Division. In the end he fell short, caught and bowled off a leading edge by Derbyshire's left-arm spinner David Wainwright for 181.

Nonetheless it was Cook's highest score since his 190 for England against India in Kolkata in December 2012. But with support from wicketkeeper James Foster (55 not out), Cook's innings enabled Essex, bowled out for 94 in the first innings, to total 425 and leave Derbyshire needing a daunting 366 to win.

England watch

England's reassessment of Steven Finn after his troubled winter may come sooner than anticipated. Eight wickets in the match so far against Nottinghamshire at Lord's gives the Middlesex pace bowler 14 from his first two Championship outings.