It was like a demonstration of how to and how not to bat at Chester-le-Street yesterday as Durham exerted their class over inferior opposition.
If Derbyshire’s crumbly batting put Durham’s first innings in a very favourable light, the Riversiders’ second put it back into context. The gulf in class between a team fighting for the County Championship and visitors patently out of their depth in the First Division was brutally laid bare on day two.
The Peakites could not cope with Durham’s bowling, only just reaching the paltry 104 needed to avoid the follow-on. Unfortunately for them, the home batsmen learnt the lesson of day one and were every bit as disciplined as their team-mates. The sides resume this morning 348 runs apart, with plenty of scope to widen that.
The control Durham’s bowlers exerted was what impressed the most. Played in humid conditions, the ball has swung more in this game than any other this season. Yesterday it moved in the air less extravagantly than on Monday, but that helped the bowlers.
Most of Chris Rushworth’s six wickets came from balls which deviated only slightly, just finding the edge rather than swerving way past it. The pressure, though, came from the scoreboard.
Until last pair Mark Footitt and David Wainwright’s “to hell with it” flurry denied Rushworth career-best figures by just six runs, the scoring had been snail-pace. When Wainwright found the boundary rope in the 33rd over, it was the first off the bat in 18-and-a-half overs.
Callum Thorp’s first spell claimed 2-6 from seven overs, Mark Wood’s 1-4 from five. That would not have been so bad had the wickets column of the scoreboard moved slowly too. Derbyshire were six wickets down for 51.
Scott Borthwick called it “probably the best spell of seam bowling I’ve ever witnessed at second slip”.
Richard Johnson played down the wrong line to a ball which nipped back, Wayne Madsen helped a delivery going down legside on its way into Phil Mustard’s gloves. Dan Redfern fended to slip when Thorp swung the ball out, while Tom Poynton’s airy drive gifted his fellow wicketkeeper a fourth catch.
Serene as ever, limpet-like Shivnarine Chanderpaul was content to get them in singles, every bit as defiant as the player who batted so doggedly for Durham, and seemingly even squarer to the crease. He nearly lost Wainwright when the spinner edged just in front of a diving second and third slip, but instead gained the strike.
Two balls later Rushworth moved one away, squaring Chanderpaul up just a fraction more to take the edge. Rushworth’s leap for joy underlined the significance of what he had achieved.
Will Smith’s gully catch, every bit as good as Jonathan Clare’s shot was poor, gave Rushworth his fifth wicket two deliveries later. Shortly after lunch Footitt swung the bat once too often. He found fresh air, the ball located his stumps, and Rushworth had 6-58.
Another impressive performance from the ever-improving seamer only highlighted how surprising it is that he is nominated to stand down if, as expected, Graham Onions does not make England’s Trent Bridge XI today.
Derbyshire’s 113 was 63 less than Borthwick and Keaton Jennings added on their own after Mark Stoneman was questionably lbw in Durham’s fourth over. The hosts might have been guilty of lacking a little patience on day one but Jennings – exempt from that criticism – and Borthwick are two players with a real top-order mentality.
Jennings seemed to suffer from the nervous 90s in his first knock, yesterday it was the fidgety 40s. This time, though, he endured. It took 69 balls for the South African to reach 40, 67 more to get to 50, With the first two innings of the game wrapped up so early, it did not matter a bit.
Borthwick, so impressive since stepping up to No 3, had no such problems – at least not until after tea, when Derbyshire decided drying up the runs was their best route to success.
He got off the mark with two gorgeous drives not quite as straight as the one Jennings clattered into the non-striker’s stumps, though his most productive area was through square leg. Both his 50 and his 100 came with pulls – the first for four, the second six – when the bowling dropped short.
The second of those shots brought a joyous swing of the bat. The experiment of pushing Borthwick up the order has been an unqualified success.
His innings may be over, lbw playing back to Redfern, but his involvement in the match may not be. Borthwick licked his lips as he talked last night about the rough patches which could bring himself and Gareth Breese into the game.
Finishing the day on 65 after pulling its final ball for a big four, the challenge for Jennings is to show that like his batting team-mates, he can learn from Monday. The 21-year-old was perhaps the only Durham batsman to show the patience required in the first innings, but failed to make a century.
On yesterday’s evidence the only thing capable of stopping him righting that wrong lies between his ears.