Report

Hosts fluff their lines in response to meagre first innings as 16 wickets fall in a day

Durham 58 for 6 (Cook 3-20, Siddle 2-15) trail Essex 182 (Pepper 92, Rushworth 4-32, Raine 4-45) by 124 runs

It was the last ball of the day that really rubbed it in. A ball that said that Essex would take some beating from here. A ball that said their Championship defence was growing in intensity. A ball that said that Durham might be about to suffer more anguish after their heartache in the same fixture last month.

David Bedingham had been Durham’s highly-fancied representative in the race to be first to 1,000 runs before it became apparent that the only winner would be a sour-faced English Spring. And when Sam Cook shaded a delivery away from him to strike his off stump, and held out his fists in exultation, it already had the makings of a decisive moment.

Sixteen wickets fell on the first day and with Durham resting on 58 for 6, Essex’s 182 suddenly looked indomitable. Massive credit for that goes to Michael Pepper, whose previous three first-class matches had brought 61 runs at 10.61, but who stood in for England-bound Dan Lawrence with such alacrity that he posted 92 and must have had visions of his maiden first-class century when he fell lbw.

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