Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Durham Title Bid Facing Kent Test

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Durham Title Bid Facing Kent Test

Article excerpt

Byline: By JEFF BOWRON

DURHAM resume their bid to win the LV County Championship when they take on Kent in a crucial contest at the Riverside, starting tomorrow.

It looks likely the battle for the title will go all the way to the wire, with only 18 points separating current league leaders Nottinghamshire and sixth-placed Sussex.

Second-top Durham remain 10 points behind Notts after their game at Trent Bridge petered out into a drab draw on Saturday, but skipper Dale Benkenstein was satisfied with the eventual outcome.

He said: "The wicket was very docile and we needed a score of around 350 batting first to dictate the pattern of the game.

"They bowled very well in our second innings, so scoring was difficult and it was tough to try and force a victory.

"Notts have a very good home record and they would have backed themselves before the start to win the game."

Michael Di Venuto (64) and Shivnarine Chanderpaul (53) led the way in Durham's second innings, while Mark Stoneman and Ben Harmison chipped in with useful runs as the visitors eventually made 257-8 declared off 128 overs on the batsman-friendly wicket.

Stuart Broad, released by England ahead of the third Test at Edgbaston along with Steve Harmison, captured 4-39 in his 21 overs - but the game ended in stalemate with the two sides due to meet again in the return fixture at the Riverside next week.

Benkenstein added: "I was not over the moon with the result, but it set us up nicely ahead of our next two home games which will be massive in our bid to win the title."

Kent arrive in the North East following their drawn game with Hampshire at Canterbury, and are currently in fourth spot, only four points adrift of Durham but having played a game more.

Their talented squad is captained by Rob Key who, in the eyes of many cricket observers, was a viable candidate for the England captain's role before the selectors confirmed the appointment of Kevin Pietersen as successor to Michael Vaughan yesterday. …

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