Chris Rushworth plays down wicket milestone amid Durham celebrations

MILESTONE: Chris Rushworth.
MILESTONE: Chris Rushworth.

DURHAM bowling hero Chris Rushworth played down reaching a personal milestone in his side’s comprehensive seven-wicket LV=County Championship win over Somerset.

Sunderland star Rushworth celebrated a 200th first class wicket on his way to figures of six for 92 as Durham wrapped up victory inside three days at Taunton.

I was aware before the game that I was approaching 200 first class wickets and, although I didn’t think about it at the time, it is always nice to get to a milestone like that.

Chris Rushworth

The 28-year-old seamer continued to run through the home side’s batting as they slipped to 230 all out, having begun the day on 54 for four. Peter Trego (79) and Abdur Rehman (55 not out) made a fight of it from a miserable position of 96 for eight.

Despite their efforts, Durham were left needing only 150 for victory on a pitch that had flattened out. They needed 32.3 overs to reach 150 for three, Scott Borthwick adding 51 not out to his first innings 94, and took 23 points to Somerset’s five.

And despite his achievement, Rushworth paid tribute to a real team effort.

He said: “I was aware before the game that I was approaching 200 first class wickets and, although I didn’t think about it at the time, it is always nice to get to a milestone like that.

“More importantly, it was a great all-round performance from the team and a terrific start for us. Everyone in the dressing room is chuffed to bits.

“We bowled well as a unit. If you aimed for the top of off stump the pitch did a bit to help you.

“But it’s still a batsman’s ground and anything off line was always going to be punished.”

Rushworth set the tone for the day by striking with the third ball of the second over, sending Alex Barrow’s off stump flying with the wicketkeeper having failed to add to his overnight 28.

Jim Allenby, on nine, became Rushworth’s 200th first class victim when he was pinned lbw with the total on 71 and the next delivery saw Lewis Gregory snapped up by Scott Borthwick at second slip.

When Tim Groenewald was caught in the gully off John Hastings, having also made nine, it seemed the match might end before lunch.

But Trego had other ideas, moving to a typically attractive 47-ball half-century, with five fours and a six, while finding a solid partner in experienced left-arm spinner Rehman.

They added 99 for the ninth wicket either side of the interval before Trego got the toe end of the bat to an attempted pull shot off Graham Onions and gave the bowler a return catch.

Rehman reached his first half-century for Somerset off 80 balls, with eight fours and a six, and was unbeaten having looked in little trouble when last man Jamie Overton was bowled by Paul Collingwood for 14.

Durham’s task looked straightforward under cloudless skies and they progressed to 53 before Rehman struck in his first over, Keaton Jennings, on 26, edging to Allenby at slip.

Stoneman was also on 26 when, without a run added, he cut a short ball from Overton in the air to deep cover where James Hildreth took a comfortable catch.

It was 81 for two at tea, with 69 still needed. After the break Michael Richardson edged Groenewald to second slip to fall for 28 with 44 still needed.

But Borthwick moved confidently to his second half-century of the match off 60 balls, with eight fours, before Calum MacLeod hit the winning single.

Somerset director of cricket Matt Maynard said: “Chris Rushworth and Graham Onions gave us an example of how to bowl on that wicket, particularly in the final session of the second day when they tested our batsmen with almost every delivery.

“We did not execute our skills for long enough periods with either bat or ball and lost wickets in clumps, which is never good.

“It is a setback, but no more than that so early in the season. The character and body language displayed by the players was excellent right to the finish.”