Roseberry ready for survival game

Kent 363; Durham 217-6
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The Independent Online
Big things were expected and needed from the more experienced of the Durham batsmen, when they set out after Kent's seemingly inadequate first innings total at Maidstone yesterday. Too often this season the bowlers have produced the goods only for their efforts to be wasted, which is probably why Durham are bottom of the County Championship without a win to their name, while Kent are second.

Initially, though, the Kent bowlers appeared to have discovered a "corridor of certainty" as they allowed the West Indies' Test opener, Sherwin Campbell, plenty of room to cut and drive his way into confidence. Even the departure of the former England low-flier, John Morris, and the opener, Stewart Hutton, both victims of the admirable Martin McCague, appeared mere hiccups. The Mote wicket, everyone had agreed, was full of runs, it just needed someone to tap the rich vein.

However, the premature fall of Campbell and the brisk departure of Darren Blenkiron changed all that. Suddenly, talk of a first-innings lead was turned into calculations of the follow-on figure.

The Durham side, and the umpires and scorers, had another problem - an outbreak of food poisoning. So worried were they that a local umpire was called up, ready to stand in if either Nigel Plews or Roy Palmer had to made a quick dash for safety.

Durham's captain, Mike Roseberry, was none too happy, either, having spent much of the previous night suffering with the stomach upset, but he was well aware that what was needed for his side was for him to stay there rather than cut a dash. For much of his 89-run stand with the silver- haired Phil Bainbridge, Roseberry was content to let his partner have the strike. Bainbridge made good use of it - he struck a series of lusty blows and had reached his third half-century in four matches by the time Matthew Fleming got him with a slower ball.

Roseberry, who had made seven when Bainbridge arrived and had added 14 when the partnership was broken almost two hours later, had reached a deserved half century by the time a downpour ended play at tea, with the follow-on avoided.