When the last rites of this contest are written, Scott Borthwick shall irrefutably get his due. His century yesterday dragged Durham out of a cliff. With Paul Collingwood in exposition of the reason why he’s dubbed one of the cooler heads of the game and John Hastings in attack mood, Borthwick will feel his vigil had finally reaped its unexpected rewards.
Collingwood sits at 111 and Durham are a shout away from victory – 48 runs to be exact – barring a miraculous collapse. Set 318 to win, a target initially thought to be a credit to Worcestershire after the mire they were trapped in overnight at 65/6, Durham set about with positive intent from the off. Mark Stoneman in particular was enjoying a freedom of expression as he raced to a breezy 37 before edging the impressive Joe Leach to Ben Cox. Borthwick attempted to do the noddy work and get himself in for a repeat performance but Jack Shantry had him trapped for 4.
That presented the home side with hope, but the Durham captain was to quick usher away that. Collingwood detected his moral fibre from the inception and carved an innings out of the top draw to put his side on top. Opener Keaton Jennings gave able support and the pair added 108 runs for the third wicket. Returning Charlie Morris found the edge of Jennings to send him back for 64, and that’s all the mercy Durham had for their new friends in Division One.
Michael Richardson looked leisurely and seldom troubled. His 41 not out was the perfect anecdote for Collingwood’s march to victory and the pair had added 96 valuable runs by the close. Worcestershire’s bowlers pegged away but the unfamiliar sight of the bright sun did them no favours.
Earlier in the day, they commenced on a high note than Mozart would have been fond of. Cox and Leach plundered 53 runs from the first five overs and the lead had extended to 250 in no time. Then John Hastings resumed from where he left off yesterday, capturing the last four wickets to finish with remarkable figures of 60-7. He was on the middle of the storm when Leach turned water into wine and the reason why he could do the damage in 12.1 overs reflect that.
Leach was the last to go – 76 off 53 balls including 10 fours and three sixes – clean bowled by the burly Australian, perhaps exacting some revenge for polluting his economy earlier in the morning. Leach shared a partnership of 75 with Cox and Sachithra Senanayake made an express 18 before holing out to long off presenting Hastings his five wicket-haul.
Worcestershire will regret the final session on Day Two where they lost six wickets inside 22 overs, but that’s minor detail as 318 is a target well worth setting in any given day. What Borthwick did with Graham Onions adding 95 runs for the last wicket isn’t minor though, that’s where this match turned Durham’s way.