Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Cricket: Title-Chasers Make Solid Start

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Cricket: Title-Chasers Make Solid Start

Article excerpt

DURHAM, needing a victory to keep alive their outside chances of winning the LV County Championship title, ended the first day on 126-4 after dismissing Kent for 212 at Canterbury.

It represents a good start for Dale Benkenstein's troops, who need slip-ups from the teams above them if they are to land the silverware. The visitors were progressing well after losing the first wicket in the first over of the final session, with a great stand between Michael Di Venuto and Kyle Coetzer.

The pair batted superbly until the 20th over when off-spinner James Tredwell was brought on - and with his first ball Coetzer (44) gave an easy catch to short-leg. Di Venuto (32) fell in the next over, edging Ryan McLaren behind the stumps.

When Shivnarine Chanderpaul went down the wicket but edged into the hands of second slip, Durham had plummeted to 92-4, losing three wickets in 13 balls for just six runs. Benkenstein (22 not out) and Phil Mustard (14no) steadied the innings a little with a stand of 34 in 13 overs of defensive batting.

Earlier, Kent's batsmen, having decided to make first use of a pacy pitch which also helped ball movement, struggled throughout the innings. The hosts failed to put together a good partnership until a last-wicket stand of 65 between McLaren - who remained unbeaten with 54 - and Martin Saggers (16).

They lost both opening batsmen by the third over. Joe Denly (four) had his leg stump uprooted by Graham Onions and in the next over Rob Key (three), provided Di Venuto, at second slip, with the first of his four catches.

It equalled the highest number of catches in an innings for the county by a fielder - apart from the wicket-keeper.

The first bowling change was effective with Mark Davies claiming Matthew Walker's wicket in his first over - and 19 runs later he dismissed Martin van Jaarsveld. …

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