Lancashire's number looks up as Stokes shows brutal power
Lancashire 313 & 69-3 Durham 586
Wednesday 01 June 2011
Impressive statistics do not necessarily equate to titles, yet after the eighth match of a Durham season in which they look to have increasingly good prospects of winning the Championship for the third time in four years, their batting averages are worth a look.
These show that five of their batsman have scored 539 runs or more in the competition, with another not far behind on 456. Given that the merit mark for a decent season with the blade is 1,000 – and given that there are another eight matches to come – the numbers are impressive reading.
Dale Benkenstein needs only 145 more to get there with considerable time to spare, with Ben Stokes boasting the next highest aggregate on 609. As it happens, the two have scored 322 between them in this match (so far), the majority during a monumental stand of 331 that eclipsed one Durham record and fell just short of passing another.
It was the biggest partnership for any wicket since Durham joined the Championship, overtaking that set by Benkenstein and Ottis Gibson, when they put on 315 for the seventh wicket at Headingley in 2006, a result that saved Durham from relegation.
One more boundary and it would have displaced the 334 by Stewart Hutton and Mike Roseberry against Oxford University in 1996 as Durham's highest partnership in first-class cricket. Not that anyone was suggesting this was a mark against them. It was more than enough to leave Lancashire in serious danger of surrendering the First Division's only unbeaten record, and to gain Stokes more admirers.
The young man will shed his teenage status on Saturday but, you hope, none of his free spirit. Hitting balls over the pavilion here – 11 rows of seats, an eight-foot wall and two storeys above that – was the preserve only of Kevin Pietersen before yesterday, apparently – but Stokes, with two mighty sweeps against Steven Croft's off breaks, did it twice.
He was bowled attempting a third but could hardly be chastised for that. He had turned his third century of the season into a career-best 185 and while he should have been out at least once, the striking feature of the innings was its maturity.
Durham are in control, a breezy 63-ball 61 from Phil Mustard (whose average is a dizzy 122.00) left Lancashire with a deficit of 273 and they have lost three wickets in reducing it by 69, two to the impressive Graham Onions. In survival terms, their numbers do not look so good.
Paul Scholes: Manchester United vs Liverpool - I don't understand why Brendan Rodgers was not more attacking against Basel
Jesus Christ plays for Chelsea - that's what one in five children thinks
Transfer Talk: Nemanja Vidic to return to Manchester United; Hazard to leave Chelsea; Sunderland want Radamel Falcao
Frank Warren column: Don't bet on Amir Khan landing pay day against Floyd Mayweather
Manchester United transfer news: Kevin Strootman move edges closer
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
New era of cheap oil 'will destroy green revolution'
Ukip founder Alan Sked and Nigel Farage 'begged Enoch Powell to stand as a candidate'
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant