Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Durham of Old in Push for Vital Win

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Durham of Old in Push for Vital Win

Article excerpt

Byline: Luke Edwards

THEY have been made to fight for every single run of it, but Durham's small advantage could well prove to be a decisive one as they look to secure an LV Championship victory which will reignite talk of a late title charge.

Durham have to play all of the top four between now and the end of the season - Lancashire currently sit in fourth spot - and Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire and Somerset are yet to visit the Emirates Durham.

It may be too big an ask given the inconsistencies which have dogged them all summer with both bat and ball, but if they can force a win here, it will at least put them back in the race with five games remaining.

There was much to admire in their performance yesterday. Brilliant with the ball and belligerent with the bat, this was something like the Durham of old, combining talent with resilience when it was needed most.

It was not quite as good as it should have been, a lower middle order collapse depriving them of the really big firstinnings lead which might have already put the game beyond their hosts, but an advantage of 56 was a more than useful one on a pitch which offered the seam bowlers variable bounce and the spinners some nasty turn.

Having resumed on 131-4, Lancashire lost three quick wickets and were instantly struggling as Steve Harmison and Ian Blackwell worked perfectly in tandem.

Blackwell picked up his first wicket of the morning with only his third ball when Gareth Cross was trapped leg before.

He had played and missed at the first two balls so it was not the biggest surprise when he also failed to get his bat on a straighter delivery.

The key wicket was going to be Mark Chilton's and, having survived a very close lbw appeal from Harmison, Lancashire's brave half-centurion was also bamboozled by Blackwell, adding just one run to his overnight 68.

When Glenn Chapple also fell, caught by Michael Di Venuto at second slip to give Harmison a well-deserved breakthrough, Lancashire had lost three wickets for six runs, four of which had come from one Chapple shot. …

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