Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Cricket: Run-Out Error Is Forgiven; Half-Century Is Mark's Apology

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Cricket: Run-Out Error Is Forgiven; Half-Century Is Mark's Apology

Article excerpt

Byline: Luke Edwards

WHEN Dale Benkenstein won the toss and decided to bat first against Surrey in overcast and gloomy conditions, fans raised an eyebrow in surprise.

When the ball began to swing and seam as Durham slumped to 13-3 after a lengthy break in play for rain, fans shook their heads in amazement that the South African could have been so foolish. But they really should know by now that the county's inspirational captain always knows what he is doing, as Durham ended the first day in a strong position of 144-3 following an excellent fourth-wicket stand.

Inevitably Benkenstein was heavily involved in the salvage operation, but as important as his unbeaten 58 was, for once, his achievement was outshone by a 20-year-old former Whickham Comprehensive School pupil. Mark Stoneman's 58 was good enough on its own considering this was only his eighth Liverpool Victoria County Championship match, but it was even more impressive because his day started in dreadful fashion.

There is only one thing worse than running out your side's best batsman when he has only faced only one ball, and that is running out your best batsman when he has only faced one ball and you are going to spend the next three hours in the pavilion because of rain.

With that in mind, it would be easy to feel a little sorry for Durham's young opener after his call led to the run-out of last season's leading run scorer, Michael Di Venuto, in the first over of the day. But the youngster deserved an ear-bashing from the Tasmanian and everyone else in the dressing for that matter for calling a ridiculous attempt at a quick single, which left the Surrey bowler Pedro Collins the simple task of throwing the ball - underarm - on to the stumps.

Di Venuto scored 155 not out on his debut for Durham at Worcester last season and, in his first Championship game at the Riverside following his move from Derbyshire, hit an unbeaten 204 against Kent. …

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