LEICESTER (Agencies): Durham were bowled out twice in just two sessions, registering their two lowest scores in first-class cricket as they collapsed to an ignominious innings defeat on a truly extraordinary day’s cricket in their Specsavers County Championship match against Leicestershire at the Fischer County Ground.
The visitors were unable to cope with the bowling of Pakistan international seamer Mohammad Abbas, who took 5 for 23 in Durham’s first innings and 5 for 29 in the second, giving him match figures of 10 for 52.
“There’s no hiding from a performance like that, it was not good enough in any department,” said Durham’s head coach, Jon Lewis. “It’s not the first time a single bowler in his opening spell has blown apart our innings this season, but for Mohammad Abbas to do that twice in consecutive sessions, I’m struggling to find the words, it was just unacceptable.
“No-one in our dressing room has been left in any doubt about how unhappy I am. It was embarrassing, and that’s not a word I’ve had to use before, and I’ve been pretty angry on occasions, but unfortunately it is appropriate.”
With the strong wind behind him, moving the ball both ways and bowling with outstanding accuracy, Abbas proved all but unplayable by one of the division’s weaker batting line-ups. With fellow seamers Neil Dexter, Ben Mike and Gavin Griffiths all offering excellent support, Durham had no answers, their 20 wickets falling in just 52.3 overs.
Remarkably, the day had actually started well for Durham, with Matt Salisbury quickly taking the two wickets needed to end Leicestershire’s first innings, knocking Griffiths’ off stump out of the ground and then pinning Abbas leg before with a full delivery.
Thereafter, however, it was a day that the visitor will not be allowed to forget on a pitch that, while offering the seamers a small amount of assistance, was very far from the minefield the scores might suggest.
Durham’s first innings saw Abbas quickly into his work, beating Cameron Steele twice before seaming his fourth delivery back into his pads to dismiss the opener leg before.
Gareth Harte edged a bouncing delivery to Dexter at second slip, and Graham Clark also went leg before to a ball that came back. Michael Richardson lost his off-stump to his second ball, and Paul Collingwood, making his last appearance away from Durham’s Riverside Stadium, edged his first ball to Colin Ackermann at second slip.
Stuart Poynter survived a leg-before shout to the hat-trick ball, only to steer a Dexter delivery into the hands of Harry Dearden at point before he had scored. Dexter’ spell, up the slope and into the wind, was almost as remarkable as that being produced by Abbas: seven overs, six maidens, one wicket for one run.
Mike replaced Abbas and immediately bowled a fine delivery which trimmed Mark Wood’s off-bail, Alex Lees heaved at Griffiths and spooned a catch to square leg, and Salisbury and Benny McCarthy sparred away and edged catches to the wicket-keeper.
The procession continued in the second innings, Abbas seaming the ball back into the right-handers at pace and clattering the stumps time and again. Steel, Richardson, Collingwood and Rushworth were all bowled by Abbas but some of the shots played at the other end were shamefully poor: Clark, Harte and Poynter will be embarrassed if they can bring themselves to look at replays.
Durham’s previous record low score was 67, made against Middlesex at Lord’s in 1996.