Durham batsmen relish time at the crease

Century maker Michael Richardson
Century maker Michael Richardson
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Michael Richardson struck an unbeaten century as Durham’s batsmen took full advantage of time in the middle against Durham MCCU on day two of their annual friendly at the Emirates Riverside.

Mark Stoneman, Keaton Jennings and Jack Burnham all made half-centuries as the hosts declared on 350-3 after 78 overs.

Eben Kurtz and Jack Clark were resilient through a tricky 12-over spell at the end to help the students close out the day on 32 without loss.

After a frustrating opening day, where no play was possible due to persistent rain, Durham were put into bat yesterday and their openers played encouragingly.

Jennings got his innings rolling with a boundary in the second over, but, after half an hour, rain forced the players off for a short while.

The 23-year-old South African-born batsmen looked to progress and increase the scoring rate after the break, and he brought up his half-century in the process.

His knock of 54 came off 76 balls, but he found himself back to the pavilion just before the stroke of lunch after edging Will Phillips behind to Jack Clark at first slip.

Scott Borthwick brought Durham’s century up, but, after the England hopeful struck three superb boundaries in the first five overs of the afternoon session, he was stumped by Jake Dunford off the bowling of Jonathan Dewes.

Richardson came to the crease and immediately settled the home side with some brilliant stroke play, and Stoneman brought up his half-century off 98 balls in the process.

The pair produced a brilliant partnership throughout the afternoon, and Richardson was Durham’s third batsman to bring up his 50 after he produced a glancing shot down the leg side.

Rain struck for the second time and it shortened the afternoon session, as the hosts went into the break on 235-2.

However, just three balls after tea, Stoneman, who was edging closer to three figures, departed on 83 after chipping a shot straight back to Phillips.

Richardson almost followed the stand-in skipper back to the pavilion, but Dunford could not hold on after the batsmen edged Charlie MacDonnell behind.

The wicketkeeper made the students rue that missed opportunity as he and Burnham punished the bowlers throughout the evening session, with the latter smashing the first six of the game in the process.

Richardson took advantage of a misfield, which allowed him to bring up his century. The pair produced an unbeaten 114-run stand before the hosts declared at 350-3, moments after Burnham brought up his half-century.

Durham’s bowlers were given the chance of a 12-over mini-session at the end of the day, but the students’ openers ensured no wickets fell.

Jon Lewis’s side will look to make the most of the final day ahead of their Specsavers County Championship opener at home to Somerset on Sunday.