Sun, 07 Jun 2020

Durham 37 for 4 (Sanderson 3-20) trail Northamptonshire 217 (Rossington 82, Rushworth 5-68) by 180 runs

Adam Rossington produced a murderous counterattack to revive Northamptonshire on the opening day of their crucial Specsavers County Championship promotion clash with Durham at Wantage Road.

Asked to bat in bowling conditions that couldn't have been better designed, Northants were listing at 150 for 8 after Chris Rushworth's fourth five-wicket haul of the season before captain Rossington struck 60 in just 22 balls to rescue a batting point. He was last out for 82 but pushed his side to 217. Ben Sanderson then put Northants on top with three wickets as Durham slipped to 37 for 4 when bad curtailed the day.

Rossington targeted the short leg-side boundary towards the Clark Road and shuffled across his stumps to slog sweep seven sixes - three of them in one over from Brydon Carse that went for 27 and four off Rushworth, including the biggest that brought up the batting point.

It was the perfect time for a captain's innings and gave Northants something to bowl at, which looked unlikely when Rushworth ran through them after lunch. Conditions were tailor-made for he and the Durham attack with a heavy grey cloud clinging over the ground and the floodlights the only reason play was possible. Ned Eckersley could have declined the toss from the changing room.

But the visitors did not initially do justice to conditions and allowed Northants to reach 99 for 1 just after lunch. But Durham located a more consistent length and Rushworth's first wicket began a severe slide of 7 for 51 in 21.1 overs.

He found the breakthrough with a delivery that jagged back sharply off the seam to pluck out Alex Wakely's off stump as he perfectly justifiably shouldered arms. Two balls later Rob Keogh edged an away-swinger to fall for a second-ball duck after a match-winning innings last week.

Rushworth also nipped one through Ben Curran's defences, who was rather caught on the crease in losing his off stump for a battling 36. After tea, Doug Bracewell was pinned by a nip-backer for 1 and the five-wicket haul was completed by one that bounced to take the shoulder of Brett Hutton's bat to point.

Ben Raine also went to 50 wickets in a season for the second time with his 3 for 57, having Rob Newton caught at slip for 26, Luke Procter caught behind first ball after tea for 8 and Gareth Berg bowled off his gloves as he tried to avoid another ball that bounced a little.

But after Rossington's brilliance gave his side a useful score, and momentum, the Northants bowlers made inroads much earlier then Durham managed.

Sanderson got one to straighten on Cameron Steel who edged low to Hutton at third slip for 7 and lured Alex Lees, on 15, into flicking across a full delivery to provide Alex Wakely with a catch at first slip. A nip-backer then trapped Angus Robson lbw for 9.

Gareth Berg also produced a big inswinger that won a leg before decision against Championship debutant BJ Watling. The New Zealander walked off for a third-ball duck as Northants ended the day much the stronger.

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