Jon Lewis paused for a long time when asked if yesterday if he had endured a worse day as Durham’s coach.
“Not three days, no,” came his considered reply.
He had just witnessed Durham’s first innings defeat since May 2010.
After the way day three started, the hosts 62-3 in reply to 472, it was almost inevitable they would lose their first County Championship home game against Warwickshire since 1997. What no one saw coming was that they would do so in a day.
Every word of praise showered on the Riversiders for the way they battled for a draw against Yorkshire on Thursday was redundant yesterday. All those qualities were absent, except from batsmen Keaton Jennings and Michael Richardson.
The only chink of light was that shortly after their innings-and-188-run thrashing Nottinghamshire beat Lancashire by a wicket. Had they lost, the champions would be in Division One’s relegation zone now.
Lewis pulled no punches about the “kick up the a**e”, arguing Durham’s spirit had been papering over cracks.
“We’ve not been good enough on day one,” he said bluntly. “You can go to Taunton (Durham’s only other defeat this season), and both games against Yorkshire. Before this game they were probably our three least impressive performances. They all started with a bad day one.
“On a couple of occasions we managed to scrap our way to a draw, on one we didn’t. You can’t keep putting yourself behind and expect to be able to scrap to a draw every time.
“You need to be better at starting games. We’re missing opportunities to get a grip on the game.”
Not only are Warwickshire not going to win this season’s title, they were a bowler light all day. Even Keith Barker, who took four times more wickets in this game than in the whole of June, admitted: “We weren’t expecting this to happen.”
Barker’s new-ball partner, Chris Wright, was off the field all day with a stiff back, forcing bowling coach Alan Richardson onto the field from time to time in the kit of the actual 12th man, Oliver Hannon-Dalby.
Barker was not running smoothly either, due to a knee problem picked up in his professional football career which sometimes troubles him.
It took him until his fourth over of the morning to strike but once he did, there was nothing his favourite opponents could do to stop him. Gordon Muchall played across the line but at first glance it seemed questionable whether the ball was going to hit the stumps. All that mattered was Peter Hartley thought it would.
On the day Mark Stoneman was penalised for dissent after his furious reaction to an lbw decision at Headingley, Muchall must have felt just as frustrated. This was by no means his first hard-luck story, but since his 158 not out at Trent Bridge in May he averages 14.75 despite gorgeous shots in almost every single innings.
Two balls later, Paul Collingwood was joining him, helping a ball that left him to second slip. So brilliant in the draw at Yorkshire days earlier, Phil Mustard could not repeat the trick. His two runs squirted off the inside edge before being well caught by third slip Will Porterfield.
Jonathan Trott was bullied by an Australian, the only difference from normal being that he was bowling to John Hastings, not the other way around. But when a ball skidded through to trap Scott Borthwick lbw he did not having the rock he needed at the other end.
Hastings was undone by Barker’s beauty but not before bringing up his 50, or the departure of Mark Wood, nibbling at a ball slanted across. Graham Onions was stumped.
If the ten-minute turnaround before following-on offered a chance to regroup, Durham did not take it.
After a rash shot from the first ball of the innings, Mark Stoneman helped the second to the slips. When Borthwick edged behind Durham’s only runs were leg byes.
Jennings and Richardson rode their luck, the former relieved the ball he jabbed down on flirted around his stumps, the latter possibly dropped on 18 with Tim Ambrose up to the stumps for Trott.
When Jeetan Patel got the ball to turn after tea, blind panic ensued as Durham went from 75-2 to 80-5. Richardson flicked to short leg, Muchall and Collingwood were lbw playing off the back foot, Mustard edged driving.
Jennings went to the extra pace of Rankin, fending off a short ball and seeing it drop onto his stumps.
Hastings’ drive threatened to die on Hannon-Dalby at long-on, but he took it off his bootlaces.
Rushworth’s duck, the fifth of the innings to give Patel a five-wicket haul, was golden in name only.
When Wood backed away from Rankin once to often the ball kept low and his stumps were rearranged.
The pattern may have been set on day one, but Durham surrendered with unseemly haste.
Durham closed day one 18-0 in reply to Leicestershire’s 393-9 declared in the Second XI Championship. Usman Arshad took 3-52.