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
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants