Sean Dickson scores Stokes-like second ton to set up Durham victory push

Worcestershire 309 (Leach 62, Potts 6-62) and 85 for two want an extra 357 to beat Durham 580 for six dec and 170 for 1 dec (Dickson 105, Lees 60*)

Two centuries within the match for Sean Dickson, the second of them a rip-roaring affair made at a tempo that solely Ben Stokes has ever outdone in Durham’s historical past, after which solely on the day past, have ready the bottom for Durham to safe their first win of the season on the fifth try, an overdue reward for a county that was strongly fancied to be contesting the promotion locations at the start of the season.

Durham want eight wickets on the ultimate day to beat Worcestershire, who’re nonetheless 357 runs adrift, however any common county cricket observers who’ve alighted on the competitors for the primary time this summer time must be introduced updated: that process is not as easy because it was as soon as.

Durham’s process can also be compounded by the truth that the workload of Stokes, England’s new captain, their champion allrounder and due to this fact a tricky man who’s thought to be susceptible as porcelain, should be managed on his first look of the season. “Put overs into the legs of the Durham bowlers,” was the comprehensible coverage of the Worcestershire dressing room. It was simply that… there is a robust England summer time forward, cannot you go a bit simple?

Stokes has arrange their victory push, alongside Dickson, along with his breathtaking 161 from 88 balls, which delighted all who noticed it, other than Kevin Pietersen, who demanded the emergency introduction of franchise cricket, however it’s questionable whether or not he’ll be capable to end off the job with the ball.

England’s official directions to their tempo assault on the uncommon events they play county cricket are apparently not fairly as prescriptive as as soon as they have been. Both they’ve fortunately adopted a much less authoritarian strategy or they simply know that the likes of Stokes, James Anderson and Stuart Broad have the strength of will to arrange themselves for Check cricket a lot as they see match.

If there isn’t a chance due to this fact that Stokes’ cellphone will ping at breakfast on the ultimate day advising him to bowl 12 overs in three four-over bursts, until the wind is from a northerly path, during which case the variety of overs allowed needs to be divided by the moisture content material of the pitch measured at hourly intervals, they could desire as an alternative to ship an bold center supervisor, armed with a Bluetooth-enabled microphone, to yell in his path if he will get carried away.

Such a recourse could also be essential as a result of Durham might face an exacting day to drive victory at New Highway and make sure themselves as worthy promotion challengers. The pitch confirmed indicators of unevenness for the brand new ball, and Chris Rushworth, who has had a tricky season, took benefit by eradicating each Worcestershire openers, however it might simply go flat. With respect to Liam Trevaskis they don’t have a spinner of reputation, and the workhorse seamer – Ben Raine – stood down for Stokes on this match.

At 169 for six when play resumed, the arrears nonetheless a monumental 411 runs, Worcestershire’s second innings might need been anticipated to run aground pretty shortly. However that is 2022, the place batters have strutted their stuff and even the tailenders have carried out a superb impression of the identical. Joe Leach’s defiant 62 was the primary element as Worcestershire batted the identical period of time once more and, after a best-ignored however professionally-impressive sequence when the final pair blocked for 40 minutes and not using a run, their stand value 29 in 19 overs, they have been just one ball in need of 100 overs after they have been dismissed for 309.

Matthew Potts tacked on the wicket of Ben Cox to register 6 for 62 in a season the place he has been one of many standout fast bowlers on predominately benign pitches. It needs to be conceded, nevertheless, that the variety of high quality quick bowlers jostling for consideration would barely fill a cellphone field, particularly as today many of the room is already taken up by defibrillators or Ken Follett novels.

Within the circumstances, Scott Borthwick’s choice to provide his bowlers a breather, and bat once more, made sense and he might no have been happier with the result as Dickson recorded his second hundred of the match, Alex Lees (with much less of the strike) added an unbeaten 60 and Durham declared after 21.3 overs at 170 for 1.

Worcestershire spent a lot of the time using white-ball techniques, to no nice impact as Durham scored at a fee that they solely handle sometimes in T20 itself. Additionally they obtained Josh Baker, their 18-year-old left-arm spinner, again into the sport as early because the seventh over after his 34-run mauling from Stokes on the day past. Dickson reverse swept his first ball for 4 and later deposited a full toss up to now that the ball was by no means discovered. After a prolonged delay, Baker bounced again with the alternative, beat the skin edge however Cox missed the stumping. Character-forming stuff, which is all the time a disturbing phrase.

Dickson’s century rattled alongside in solely 69 balls, which might have been the quickest hundred in Durham’s historical past had not Stokes managed one in 64 balls within the first innings. “I did realise once I was on about 60 that I used to be in with an opportunity of the quickest century for Durham however they stored bowling actually large down the leg aspect. I used to be going for it. It wasn’t to be.”

Stokes’ hundred gained widespread media consideration, whereas Dickson (and this report is culpable) will do effectively to get a nod of recognition. Such is the lifetime of the revered however largely unsung county professional. He struck eight sixes on his approach to his fourth century of the season and third in successive innings. He’s having an excellent season with this hundred giving him 729 runs at a mean of 81 and taking him past Derbyshire’s Shan Masood because the main run-maker in both division of the Championship.

He’ll probably really feel miffed that runs are so plentiful that his efforts could not obtain the discover they deserve. That is county cricket, however on a golden Spring night at New Highway it was nonetheless a beautiful place for any individual of creativeness to be.

David Hopps writes on county cricket for ESPNcricinfo @davidkhopps

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