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?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones