Durham close to clinching title as keen Mustard makes amends

Nottinghamshire 78 Durham 207-8

Durham ICG

Durham can expect to secure the County Championship by Thursday at the latest. Given the tumultuous start today to their penultimate match of the season it is astounding they will be detained so long.

Sixteen wickets had fallen before 55 overs had been completed. It was the kind of pitch where any ball might have your name on it, a feature that was greatly assisted by batsman after batsman rushing to help with the engraving.

Nottinghamshire turned up on time for the early start but it was about the limit of their achievement. Their collective mind was on the YB40 final at Lord's on Saturday and this game seemed to be a major impediment. No matter that it was still mathematically possible for them to be relegated.

By lunch, the hapless visitors had been dismissed for 78 after choosing to bat, neither having the stomach nor summoning the necessary technique to deal with their opponents' key seam bowl pairing of Graham Onions and Chris Rushworth.

Whether beset by nerves at the sight of the finishing line or being disturbed by batting second for the first time this season in a home match, Durham were also soon in a similar mire at 45 for 5 and then 74 for 6.

But a seventh-wicket partnership of 121 between Paul Collingwood and Philip Mustard which was both diligent and entertaining (guess who was which) effectively took the match out of Nottinghamshire's hands. By the close Durham had taken their lead to 129 with two first-innings wickets left.

The stand also curtailed debate about the merits of the pitch. The ECB pitch inspector, Jack Birkenshaw, was in attendance but did not look minded to write a scathing report. Birkenshaw has been around long enough to know that sporting pitches allied to exemplary bowling and careless batting make for a lethal combination but not points docking.

Nottinghamshire made it as far as the fourth over before losing their first wicket, although the victim, Steven Mullaney, had already been dropped behind before Scott Borthwick pouched him at second slip. When wicketkeeper Mustard shelled his second opportunity of the morning, the ball bursting through his gloves at a little above waist height, it seemed that Nottinghamshire's negligence might go unpunished.

But there was plenty more where that came from. Mustard swiftly atoned by swooping low to his left to catch Michael Lumb off Onions, Riki Wessels was lbw to a seaming ball that beat his defensive prod and James Taylor culpably shouldered arms to a ball cutting back. It was not the most judicious of strokes for Taylor to be playing with an Ashes squad to be picked and the selector James Whittaker watching like a hawk.

So the headlong rush continued. Nobody was willing to knuckle down and do the hard graft necessary. Chris Read, who looks to have tired of baling his side out of deep holes, played a hugely optimistic, ill-considered swish and was leg-before. Resistance came there none and before lunch, in 26.5 overs, the innings was done.

There was spark of a fight left with Andre Adams and Luke Fletcher right on the button. The first six Durham wickets all went to catches behind the wicket, Adams claiming four of them with appreciable movement. They included Ben Stokes who arrived late, having driven up from Southampton where had played for England the previous night. His mind was probably still on the motorway – just as Notts' was on Lord's – and it seemed strange that he did not bat lower in the order.

It took all Collingwood's experience to negotiate the recovery, and Mustard was eventually commanding, timing the ball as no-one else had managed. With Yorkshire's slender title ambitions further eroded by poor weather at Headingley, the gap will shortly become too large to close.

 

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Raif Badawi: Wife pleads for fresh EU help as Saudi blogger's health worsens

Please save my husband

As the health of blogger Raif Badawi worsens in prison, his wife urges EU governments to put pressure on the Saudi Arabian royal family to allow her husband to join his family in Canada
Birthplace of Arab Spring in turmoil as angry Tunisians stage massive sit-in over lack of development

They shall not be moved: jobless protesters bring Tunisia to a halt

A former North African boom town is wasting away while its unemployed citizens stick steadfastly to their sit-in
David Hasselhoff's new show 'Hoff the Record': What's it like working with a superstar?

Hanging with the Hoff

Working with David Hasselhoff on his new TV series was an education for Ella Smith
Can Dubai's Design District 'hipster village' attract the right type of goatee-wearing individualist?

Hipsters of Arabia

Can Dubai’s ‘creative village’ attract the right type of goatee-wearing individualist?
The cult of Roger Federer: What is it that inspires such obsessive devotion?

The cult of Roger Federer

What is it that inspires such obsessive devotion?
Kuala Lumpur's street food: Not a 'scene', more a way of life

Malaysian munchies

With new flights, the amazing street food of Kuala Lumpur just got more accessible
10 best festival beauty

Mud guards: 10 best festival beauty

Whether you're off to the Isle of Wight, Glastonbury or a local music event, we've found the products to help you
Unai Emery’s passion for winning and eye for a bargain keep Seville centre stage in Europe

A Different League

Unai Emery’s passion for winning and eye for a bargain keep Seville centre stage in Europe, says Pete Jenson
Amir Khan and James DeGale’s remarkable Olympic performances were just the start of an extraordinary journey - Steve Bunce

Steve Bunce on Boxing

Amir Khan and James DeGale’s remarkable Olympic performances were just the start of an extraordinary journey
Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf