Cameron Steel’s 224 against Leicestershire this week is the highest score made by an England-qualified player for Durham.
It beat the 221 not out made by Keaton Jennings at home to Yorkshire last year and is fifth on the all-time list, beaten only by Australians.
Martin Love features twice with 273 against Hampshire at Riverside (2003) and 251 against Middlesex at Lord’s (2002).
Michael Di Venuto made 254 not out at home to Sussex (2009) and Mike Hussey amassed 253 on his Durham debut at Grace Road in 2005.
Although born in California, Steel spent most of his childhood in Somerset and Australia before returning to England to attend Durham University. His parents still live in Perth, but were present to watch his epic innings.
“It’s a pretty surreal feeling, but it feels pretty good,” Steel said.
“To have my family here from Perth makes it very special. I usually don’t score any runs in front of them, so it’s a nice change.”
Durham had been aware of Steel’s stoicism since he made 68 against them in his first year at the University in 2014.
Wisden reported: “He showed remarkable resilience for an 18-year-old and scored only eight runs in the first 20 overs, but blossomed to gather 60 in the next 31. He also turned his googly appreciably on the second day and gave the impression he was one to watch.”
Durham had no need of his services, however, as they won their third title the previous season and it was Middlesex who took him on.
As they built their own title-winning team they let him go without having made a championship appearance towards the end of last season.
The vacancies created by the departure of Mark Stoneman and Scott Borthwick opened the door for Steel to seize what he described pre-season as “a golden opportunity.”
He wasn’t selected for the first match, but an injury to Jack Burnham gave him his chance and he hasn’t looked back, scoring 59 in his third match at Swansea and 128 in the fourth at home to Northamptonshire.
The third day ofurham’s Division Two clash with Leicestershire was rained off yesterday, with Leicestershire trailing by 401 runs. Durham must take 16 wickets today to snatch victory.
Durham return to NatWest T20 Blast action with their final two home matches against Worcestershire on Friday evening (6.30pm) and Birmingham Bears on Sunday (2.30pm). They complete the programme at Derby and Northampton next week.