Steve Harmison has stated that these early-season Championship games for Durham give him the ideal opportunity to prove to the selectors that he still has an England future with ball in hand. Yet if anyone looked like having an international future on yesterday's bowling evidence at the Riverside it was Harmison's county team-mate, Graham Onions.
The seamer took Surrey's top three wickets in an effort to protect his side's first-innings total of 224 as the visitors reached stumps at 123 for 4. Onions removed the openers early, trapping Jon Batty lbw with a full-length ball and bringing one back to bowl Scott Newman as he shouldered arms.
Mark Ramprakash and Mark Butcher then threatened to put Surrey in charge with a stand of 99 but the former, seeking his 99th first-class ton, failed to cash in on being dropped by England's one-day keeper Phil Mustard as he fell for 31 to Onions, caught at slip. Butcher looked in fine form, and was barely troubled by Harmison, as he reached an 82-ball fifty with nine fours. But he fell on 65 to the fifth ball of the day's final over, also at slip.
Surrey's young seamer Chris Jordan had earlier impressed in taking 3 for 32 to mop up Durham's tail.
A confident century from Matt Prior and two wickets each from Robin Martin-Jenkins and Mushtaq Ahmed put Sussex in control of their match with Kent. Prior's 105 helped the champions post 303 at Hove. Kent were soon 20 for 3 and then 65 for 6 by close to continue their miserable start to the season. Their captain Martin van Jaarsveld fell for his second golden duck of the season.
Sir Allen Stanford yesterday made the bold declaration that Twenty20 can replace football as the biggest game in world sport. The Texan billionaire said he was ready to invest in an English version of the Indian Premier League and predicted it could be worth £500m. "Twenty20 has the potential to be the most popular team sport in the world in maybe less than 10 years," he said. "But it's going to take a highly organised efficient management team to run it."