DURHAM resume their four-day campaign at home to Nottinghamshire today, looking to add daylight between themselves and Lancashire at the top of the LV County Championship.
Head coach Geoff Cook’s side are just two points clear of the red rose challengers going into the final five matches of the campaign, but know they need to improve on their last outing in the competition.
Cook, in reference to his team’s West Country loss just over a week ago, said: “It was a good pitch down in Taunton, but Somerset just made better use of it than we did.
“They batted really well – Marcus Trescothick was outstanding – but hopefully we can put into practice the things we talked about in the team meeting afterwards.”
Cook will be without leg spinner Scott Borthwick for today’s visit of Nottinghamshire as he makes his England Lions debut against Sri Lanka A.
The 21-year-old starred for his county against the touring side last week, claiming four scalps as well as hitting a century in Durham’s two-wicket triumph over the tourists at the Emirates ICG.
His 19 Championship wickets and a batting average in excess of 38 will make the Sunderland-born right-hander a big miss, but the return of Ben Stokes after two months out with a broken hand does at least offer consolation.
Nottinghamshire, too, have been hit by Lions call-ups, as Samit Patel and Alex Hales take part in the Scarborough clash for England’s second string, but nonetheless Cook is not taking his the East Midlanders lightly.
He added: “Notts have just had an outstanding win over Lancashire in Southport and their seamers really did them proud.
“Andre Adams is an excellent county player in all forms of the game.
“He was hugely influential for them, and then Adam Voges is also a top-class performer having represented Australia at test level.”
Durham go into today’s game with a spring in their step following Sunday’s home win over Warwickshire in the Clydesdale Bank 40.
Phil Mustard’s unbeaten 129 was among the Dynamos’ many highlights in a result which left them second in the table as they remain in strong contention in all three forms of the game.
Cook, whose side chased down their visitors’ total of 240 with a couple of overs to spare, said: “I thought that we approached it in a really professional way, right from the outset.
“There was some good seam bowling against the top of their order and generally we did not let the game slip.
“We had a bit of luck taking wickets during the power play, which stopped their momentum a little bit.
“It was a good batting pitch, albeit a little on the slow side, and it was important that we got off to a good start.” With Mustard’s knock the headline-grabber on the day, the head coach added: “It was a very restrained innings as far as Phil is concerned.
“He played with great responsibility, and that is what you look for in a one-day game.
“You want somebody to get in and stay in, then try to make the most of the 40 overs.
“There are always areas where you can improve, though, and we have talked about those as a team.
“We dropped one or two catches in the field, but other than that I thought it was quite a professional performance.”