Durham split at the seam

Worcs 424-8 dec and 25-0 Durham 191 and 255 Worcs won by 10 wickets
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The Independent Online
WHILE Durham may not feature prominently in selectorial thoughts, the comparison with England is unavoidable. Both of them habitually arrive for the Saturday morning of a match staring defeat eyeball to eyeball.

There are exceptions of course - before this game at Feethams, Durham had gone one better than England and, for the first time, won twice in succession - but by yesterday they were in more familiar territory. Some attractive second innings cameos were insufficient to take the match into a fourth day. It was not the stuff of rearguard actions.

The bald figures at the start were that they were 267 runs behind with four wickets left and the harsh fact was that, like someone else down the road, they did not appear to have the stomach for the fight. Durham folded within 85 minutes, the end hastened by the departure of Manoj Prabhakar. Resistance thereafter was minimal. The capitulation obliged seamer Phil Newport to return his best figures of the season. Maybe these said more about the Durham batting than his canny accuracy.

With the first part of their task thus unaccomplished, Durham followed on. The one man probably capable of playing an innings big enough to contemplate the saving of the match was John Morris and he was duly given an early opportunity to put this theory to the test.

Stewart Hutton, opening in place of Mike Roseberry who had received a blow on the helmet the previous night, edged the new ball to first slip for a routine catch. For a while Morris played vintage shots. He bludgeoned serenely through the leg side several times and was no doubt just preparing to unleash the full array when he chipped an innocuous ball carelessly to square leg for Gavin Haynes to take.

It was the kind of shot which would be called in evidence by those who would condemn the Championship for being too soft. Prabhakar and Darren Blenkiron both played attractively in a rapid century stand, but both were out when they should not have been, playing shots that failed to show due care. Newport was then reintroduced and cursorily dismissed the tail yet again. It took Worcestershire nine balls to acquire the 23 runs they needed to record their fifth win in six games.