Yorkshire 184 & 88-2 Durham 347: Mustard adds bite to leave Durham on top

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The Independent Online

You may have read in these pages yesterday that the different rhythms of Championship cricket might require batsmen to make a difficult adjustment after three weeks amid the frenzy of Twenty20, a theory which appeared to be borne out as Yorkshire were dismissed for 184 and Durham stumbled to 161 for 7 in reply. Then along came Phil Mustard to make it seem like utter nonsense.

The Durham wicketkeeper, discarded by England after touring Sri Lanka and New Zealand with only modest success, could barely score a run in the first two months of the season, managing only 137 in 10 innings in the Championship.

In Twenty20, by contrast, he could barely stop scoring, his nine innings yielding 281 runs at an average of 31.22, including a season's best 61 off 44 balls against Lancashire. Irrelevant? It did not appear so yesterday as Mustard posted his best Championship score in almost two years.

"Form is form whatever the competition," Mustard said afterwards. "It's all in the head, really. The Twenty20 came at a good time for me and I just tried to carry that forward."

Mustard's 92 deserved to be converted to a century given that, aside from a streaky inside edge for four off Darren Gough early in his innings, he barely made an error. He also launched Anthony McGrath for a huge six into the North East Stand. Yet after he and Liam Plunkett had shared a partnership of 143 – a record stand for Durham's eighth wicket – an expansive drive at Tim Bresnan edged into the gloves of Gerard Brophy behind the stumps.

A couple in the tail gave Bresnan five wickets, yet Yorkshire's bowling lacked discipline during the afternoon session. The pitch was flatter than on the first day and the Mustard-Plunkett alliance seized the initiative for Durham, who gained a lead of 163 as Plunkett finished six short of his personal best on 68.

Yorkshire are not out of it. McGrath and Jacques Rudolph perished early but Michael Vaughan, who twice hit Steve Harmison for consecutive boundaries last night, looks in good order in his last appearance before the first Test against South Africa. He resumes on 48.