Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Miracle Men Bounce Back

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Miracle Men Bounce Back

Article excerpt

Byline: By Philip Tallentire

Durham are on the verge of achieving their own "Miracle of Headingley". The first such miracle came 25 years ago when England became only the second Test team in history to win after following on.

On that occasion, Australia were the vanquished team and Ian Botham, Graham Dilley and Bob Willis were the heroes of the hour.

Now Durham skipper Dale Benkenstein and West Indian pace bowler Ottis Gibson have given their side a genuine chance of playing top flight County Championship cricket. The pair took the doomed visitors at Headingley from 191-6 to 411-6 in an unbeaten club-record 220-run seventh-wicket partnership.

With last year's champions Notts slumping to an embarrassing home defeat to Lancashire and only taking a single bonus point, Durham were suddenly given a lifeline.

If they could earn five batting points and avoid defeat to Yorkshire, they would avoid the drop by just half a point.

Thanks to Benkenstein and Gibson, they'd achieved phase one of that unlikely task going into the fourth and final day's play.

Durham resumed day three on 203-six, still requiring a massive 325 to avoid the follow on, but the duo both hit centuries before rain came to the visitors' assistance by wiping out the remainder of the day's play with Durham on 411-six off 105 overs.

Benkenstein stood on 116 from 160 balls with 12 fours, while Gibson, having completed his first century for Durham and only the second first-class ton of his career, had reached a best-ever 104. Earlier in the day, Benkenstein survived a difficult chance to Anthony McGrath at first slip off leg-spinner Mark Lawson, but the batsmen were otherwise in charge of the situation.

Gibson increased the tempo by on-driving Adil Rashid for six and he was not far behind Benkenstein in cantering towards the half-century mark.

At 287-six, Yorkshire tried the left-arm spin of triple-centurion Darren Lehmann but that ploy failed to bring a wicket and he was taken off after just three overs. …

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