AGAINST an opponent without a four-day win n 27 attempts. Durham might have fancied themselves to get their LV=Insurance County Championship season off to a positive start. However, they will feel the opening day here was one of wasted opportunities as wickets were lost at key moments before eighth-wicket pair Bryson Carse and Ben Raine fought back tp leave Durham on 241-7 at the close.
Asked to bat first on a typical early-season pitch, they recovered well from a stuttering start against a Nottinghamshire seam attack that looked potent even with overseas signing Dane Paterson not yet match fit after a long-term injury.
The returning Scott Borthwick’s second county debut ended in a four-ball duck but Alex Lees and David Bedingham each made half-centuries and Jack Burnham was well placed to match them if not do better. Yet none was able to progress.
The swift demise of Borthwick, surprised by a Jake Ball yorker that trapped him leg before, followed that of opener Mike Jones in the same over, the fifth of the innings. Jones, who also failed to score, edged to third slip, where Haseeb Hameed held the catch at the second attempt, at which point Durham were five for two. Ball’s inclusion was something of a surprise given he had not played any warm-up matches after his involvement with England in India but two for ten from his six-over new-ball spell was ample justification.
Otherwise, it was Durham’s morning until the last over, after Nottinghamshire had successfully lobbied to squeeze in an extra one before lunch. Bedingham, who had taken his opportunities efficiently in a 76-ball fifty, faced a decent ball from Luke Fletcher but seemed momentarily indecisive as he edged to keeper Tom Moores, ending an 88-run partnership for the third wicket.
Durham needed to graft after lunch, but Lees cashed in on a rare loose over from Ball with three boundaries to complete an 118-ball fifty that looked like a strong platform. Soon afterwards, however, he was wastefully run out as the non-striker, beaten by Joe Clarke’s pinpoint throw after new partner Burnham had attempted a second run to deep backward square.
Burnham survived to reach 42 at tea but perished in the first over of the final session, caught behind on the legside as he flicked at a delivery from Fletcher, after which Ned Eckersley and Stuart Poynter fell in quick succession, the latter a deserved wicket for medium pace all-rounder James.
It was left to Carse and Raine to survive 16 overs against the second new ball and they have added 45 to drag back some of Nottinghamshire’s advantage.