Scott Borthwick, Jamie Harrison and Mark Wood produced career-best performances, and the latter looked back on Hashim Amla’s wicket as “one of the best moments of my career.” But perhaps Paul Collingwood’s words were the most telling.
“It’s probably one of my prouder victories,” the captain said after an innings and 144-run win over Surrey.
Games at Chester-le-Street are notoriously tight, so it equates to a huge win elsewhere.
It was bigger still because while Surrey had Amla, the world’s No.1 Test and one-day batsman, on debut and Chris Tremlett fired up after missing out on a first Ashes game in England, Durham were without their two best bowlers, Graham Onions and Ben Stokes – plus the more-than handy Callum Thorp – on top of all the other problems they have made a habit of shrugging off this season.
Their debutant was a 20-year-old all-rounder named Usman Arshad. Onions’ replacement was Jamie Harrison, making his first appearance for 14 months.
Durham lost their previous County Championship encounter, and three of their last four in all competitions. They are now second in Division One, with a game in hand on leaders Yorkshire who they play next week when Stokes returns from England Lions duty, and feeling like they are on a long unbeaten run.
“You’ve got to somehow bridge the gap between (Surrey’s) international-class players and (Durham’s) youngsters coming in,” reflected Collingwood.
“The way they went about it, the discipline they showed, it was fantastic. It was great to watch from first slip.
“I think we were a couple of hundred runs over par, which showed how skillfully the lads played. The (first-day) partnership between Scotty Borthwick and Will Smith pretty much won us the game.
“Being entirely honest – and this might sound harsh – I still think we’re over-achieving.”
Chris Rushworth was Durham’s senior bowler, but Harrison took five first-innings wickets – for the first time in First-Class cricket – and Wood five in the second.
Amla’s 89 from 110 balls only put into context how well 23-year-old Wood did to beat him for pace in the first innings.
“That was probably one of the best moments of my career,” he grinned. “Alan Walker (the bowling coach) drills it into me all the time saying, ‘Top of off (stump) first ball. You’ll surprise people with your size and stature with the way you zip it on to them.’
“I think that’s what happened to Amla. I got it on the money, thank God. There’s enough times when I haven’t!”
It was telling to see the field close in for the last three balls of the 39th over to keep Amla away from the bowling for the next. His batting partner was not a tailender, he was Surrey’s No.6 Steven Davies, who has opened for England in 50 and 20-over cricket.
Durham were right to look down their noses at Surrey’s feeble batsmen, having bundled them out for 108 the day before, Harrison taking 5-31.
Once Amla went yesterday – brilliantly taken right-handed by Phil Mustard as he slashed at Rushworth – the next five wickets toppled in eight overs.
Wood had already made the breakthrough. He had Zander de Bruyn dropped at leg slip by Keaton Jennings, but the next ball was edged to the opposite end of the cordon, where third slip Michael Richardson held on.
Wood went into lunch on a hat-trick after taking the next two wickets after Amla’s – both held by Mustard, who clung on eight times in the match.
Gary Wilson diligently kept out the hat-trick ball, as Batty had denied Arshad’s on Friday, then just swished at the next.
The finale summed it up, Tim Linley’s top-edged pull in the air so long that Wood was celebrating his five-fer before short leg Will Smith caught the ball.
Surprisingly, with Yorkshire looming on Wednesday, all Durham’s bowlers from this game are in the 14-man squad for today’s YB40 dead rubber against Surrey. Entry is free for under-16s, and play starts at 1.45pm.
DURHAM (from): Stoneman (c), Mustard, Borthwick, Collingwood, Smith, Stokes, Muchall, Breese, Richardson, Pringle, Wood, Rushworth, Harrison, Arshad