Durham will be without Graham Onions at Chelmsford today after the fast bowler capped off a bad week by breaking his finger.
Left out of England’s team for an Ashes Test on his home ground, the Gateshead-born fast bowler played instead for Durham in Scotland on Sunday, where he broke the knuckle joint on the little finger of his right hand.
It has ruled him out of a big YB40 game against Essex this evening, and made him a doubt for the fifth Test. “I spoke to him yesterday morning and the indication wasn’t that bad,” revealed interim coach Jon Lewis.
“But it started to cause him a bit of pain so we sent him for an x-ray and our physio, Nigel Kent, has had a good look at it.
“It’s bad news for him and for us. He’s not having a great time at the moment.”
Durham hope to have their best bowler back for their next County Championship game, at home to Surrey a week on Thursday.
One man’s misfortune is another’s opportunity, and Lewis believes Mark Wood is ready to take his chance.
The all-rounder has not featured in any of the last six games in all competitions, but Lewis says they have been looking for an opportunity to bring him back for some time.
“Woody’s been unfortunate because for the last couple of weeks he’s been excellent in practice, but with three seamers, Colly (Paul Collingwood) and the batsmen contributing, there’s been a good balance to the side.”
This is effectively the 23-year-old’s first full season as a first-team cricketer, having had an almost unbroken run in the side he broke into in late April.
“With the younger seamers in particular you’ve got to be careful with their workloads,” said Lewis. “This spell out of the side has managed to keep him fresh. He’s been busy, played some club cricket and trained hard.”
Third in Group B, Essex will fancy their chances of qualifying for the semi-finals. Although Durham top the group it is the team sandwiched between them, Hampshire, who hold the advantage by virtue of their game in hand.
The three group winners go through to the knockout stage, along with the best second-placed side.
Ben Stokes will play in Thursday’s match at Derby despite being picked for England Lions against Australia at Northampton in a two-day game starting the next morning. There is also a recall for Middlesbrough-born former Durham player Liam Plunkett.
DURHAM (from): Stoneman (c), Mustard (wk), Borthwick, Collingwood, Smith, Stokes, Muchall, Breese, Richardson, Pringle, Wood, Rushworth, Harrison.