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Rain's a pain but Durham shine on

THE official verdict was ‘no result’, but for Durham at least this was another small victory.

THE official verdict was ‘no result’, but for Durham at least this was another small victory.

Granted, the heavens opened over the Emirates Durham ICG to leave England and India frustrated in their attempts to play out the first of these five one-day internationals.

But for further proof that Durham is well on course for its Ashes bow next summer, this was another step in the right direction on the international stage.

If that sounds straightforward, just consider the problems suffered by Hampshire and Glamorgan – who have had to hand back Test matches of late.

No chance of that for Durham, who will fully deserve their moment in the spotlight in 2013.

For chief executive David Harker, a crucial part of the drive to move Durham into elite county status, Saturday’s damp squib was not the end of the world.

“There’s nothing we can do about the rain but you look at the other ingredients – like selling out the game, getting everyone in safely and quickly and a nice atmosphere – it was a success,” he said.

“We feel like we’re on course for the Ashes. It will be a huge, huge event for us and days like Saturday just give us another year’s worth of experience of getting ourselves ready for these kind of matches.

“There are plenty of things going on. We’re still committed to a ground development which will see the ground ready for 2013 – we’re not in a position yet in terms of contracts and all the funds being in place but equally we’re not in a place where that won’t happen.

“The Ashes aren’t going to just be about Durham CCC or cricket. It’s about giving something to a region that is really excited and passionate about its sport.

“Nothing is bigger than the Ashes and, of course, we feel we’re ready for it.”

Before the rain came, there were – at last – signs of life from India on this tour as they set England a stiff total of 275 to chase.

They were driven on by an unlikely swashbuckling hero in the form of 5ft 7ins left-hander Parthiv Patel, who was dropped by debutant Ben Stokes on just seven and went on to make 95. It was an impressive knock that showcased a wide variety of shots – a couple of exquisite pulls and drives that made England’s short pitched attack toil for long spells. India even recovered from the ludicrous dismissal of Rahul Dravid, caught behind by Craig Kieswetter from Stuart Broad when umpire Billy Doctrove was overruled without any firm evidence from hot spot.

Virat Kholi’s 55 was complemented by Suresh Raina’s 38 from 29 balls to give India the initiative – although it would have been an even more intimidating total had Tim Bresnan not dismissed MS Dhoni and Ravichandran Ashwin and end on a hat-trick.

England wobbled before the elements intervened, losing Alastair Cook and Kieswetter as Praveen Kumar extracted some swing in moist conditions.

Jonathan Trott had started imperiously but whether he could have built on his total of 14 – with three boundaries – is another matter. Cook felt his team did not play their get out of jail free card, although he acknowledged carelessness in the first half of India’s innings.

“I wouldn’t say it was a lucky escape – you never know what’s going to happen,” he said.

“Jade and Tim (Bresnan) did very well because at one stage we could have been looking at a score of over 300. Also Samit Patel, with the pressure of knowing we would need 10 overs against a side that plays spin well, I thought he acquitted himself very well.”

 

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