Day One: Durham won the toss and chose to bat first
North Marine Road was the setting for what turned out to be one of the most exciting games of County Championship cricket in recent years. In the gorgeous late summer sunshine on the Yorkshire coast, both teams knew a win here would move either side into pole position to lift the Championship trophy.
Yorkshire were without batsman Joe Root, but Jonny Bairstow was available. Available for Durham was all-rounder Ben Stokes.
Yorkshire entered the game with a 25.5 point lead over Durham who had a game in hand, meaning both teams had fate in their own hands with a win.
Durham skipper Paul Collingwood called correctly at the toss and elected to bat in excellent batting conditions. Openers Mark Stoneman and Keaton Jennings started proceedings, however, the latter was sent back after falling LBW to Ryan Sidebottom for a third ball duck. Scott Borthwick soon followed for a second ball duck in the same manner, leaving Durham 5-2 after just 2.4 overs.
Stoneman and new batsman Will Smith had some rebuilding to do and began a partnership worth over 50 runs, until Smith was caught off the bowling of Jack Brooks for 20. This brought Ben Stokes to the crease, keen to show the England selectors what they were missing out on.
Stokes and Stoneman punished the Yorkshire attack, allowing no bowler to settle and rattling the scoreboard along at an express pace, both scoring at a strike-rate over 75. Stoneman looked in such control, and brought up his 100 off only 117 balls, unsurprisingly with a four. It was an innings that put his side firmly ahead after a disastrous start to the day.
The opener fell for 122, caught behind by Sidebottom. It was the veteran’s 3rd wicket of the innings and the 600th of his career. Collingwood arrived at the middle to support Stokes on the way to his century, which was brought up with a glorious straight drive. It was a high class innings from Stokes, who seemed to time the ball effortlessly and so made the excellent Yorkshire attack look toothless and tired.
When, on 127, Stokes went for one big shot too many and skied one to wicketkeeper Bairstow off Adil Rashid, Durham were already past 300 and firmly on their way to maximum batting bonus points.
Despite losing Phil Mustard late in the day, LBW to Kane Williamson trying a reverse sweep for 42, Durham were in a dominant position at 406-6, Collingwood unbeaten on 74. But the day definitely belonged to Stoneman and Stokes, who entertained a crowd of almost 6,000 spectators with some sublime stroke making throughout the afternoon.
Close of play: Durham 1st innings 406/6 (PD Collingwood 74*, MJ Richardson 3*, 96 ov)