Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Cricket: Ottis Has Sleeper Hold on Visitors

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Cricket: Ottis Has Sleeper Hold on Visitors

Article excerpt

Byline: LUKE EDWARDS

OTTIS Gibson was one of the last to get to sleep on Monday morning after Durham's players were forced to drive home from Canterbury on the eve of their crucial Championship clash against Surrey, but thankfully there was no sign of tiredness in his bowling, writes LUKE EDWARDS.

There appears to have been little sense in asking Durham's players to drive back to the North-East after their Pro40 league defeat to Kent on Sunday, but there was little alternative either. The cost of a private plane was too much for the club to bear and this game had to begin yesterday as Durham have their Friends Provident Trophy Final on Saturday.

Certainly, though, it was hardly ideal preparation, given the fact several Durham players had grabbed only a handful of hours' sleep before they reported for their team meeting at the Riverside yesterday.

It is also safe to assume that when captain Dale Benkenstein won the toss and chose to bat first, it was a call quietly cursed by the batsmen and warmly greeted by the bowlers, who could at least try and get some extra rest in the dressing room.

Whether Gibson - who returned to Durham from Canterbury via Leicester - got his head down in the morning session is unknown. But if his batting was as tired looking as the rest of his team-mates, there must have been plenty of caffeine drunk in the dressing room at tea because the fast bowler was in venomous form with the ball.

Gibson and Steve Harmison prompted a Surrey collapse which, at one stage, had the visitors on their knees at 42-5.

Surrey had recovered slightly by the close as they finished the day on 161-7, but they are still 71 runs short of Durham's total. And when the country's leading run scorer, Mark Ramprakash, fell on the last delivery of the day, caught by Benkenstein in the slips to give Liam Plunkett his first wicket, Durham were back in the asc endancy. …

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