Big partnership from Compton and Kieswetter denies Durham push for victory
Durham 308 all out (Jennings 80, Gregory 4-59, Trego 3-61) and 213-9 declared (Collingwood 52 not out, Gregory 4-91, Trego 3-60);
Somerset 185 all out (Trego 48, Rushworth 4-52, Onions 4-65) and 246-4 (Compton 100, Kieswetter 78). Somerset 8pts, Durham 11pts
by Jeremy Blackmore
Nick Compton and Craig Kieswetter forged a superb partnership of 154 runs in 43 overs on the final afternoon of this game to deny a Durham push for victory and secure a draw against last year’s county champions.
With Somerset teetering on 92-4, following two quick wickets, a further breakthrough for Durham could have had the cidermen struggling to save the game.
But Compo and Kiessy dug in to see off the challenge and took the game to safety in fading light. Somerset fans still harboured hopes of a late dart for victory. But the run rate required was climbing ever higher and ultimately we made the sensible decision not to risk all the hard work we had put in to make the game safe.
Compton never looked in any trouble, playing a chanceless innings, looking in complete control and making a clear case for a Test recall against some excellent bowling from a first-rate Durham bowling attack. His trademark defence was present and correct, but he was happy to dispatch the bad ball, hitting 14 fours in total, including two off one over from Onions to bring up his 50. His 100 came up off 211 balls and was his fourth against Durham.
It was a real shame that England selector James Whittaker, who had been at the ground earlier in the game when Nick was troubled with a neck spasm, was not present to see him bat today. Nick has had pain killing injections during the match and sent for pain medication during his innings today.
Kieswetter meanwhile recorded his second championship half century of the summer. After surviving a chance to slip very early in his innings, he proved the perfect partner for Compton and was content to occupy the crease. He did dispatch two huge sixes off Gareth Breese but only in the final overs of the game, when the match was all but safe. He faced 120 balls in making his 78 and hit seven fours as well as those two sixes.
Earlier this morning, Durham had batted on for a further 45 minutes before declaring, to set Somerset a target of 337 off 82 overs at just over 4 per over. Lewis Gregory, shouldering a lot of the workload again after Meschede’s injury, finished with his second four-wicket haul of the match and his best ever match figures of 8-150. And there was another three-wicket haul for Pete Trego, his second in the match.
With Onions and Rushworth getting the ball to swing, Tres and Chris Jones made a slow start to Somerset’s second innings, before the skipper was trapped lbw by Rushworth for seven. Shortly afterwards Jones fell in the same fashion (the 15th lbw decision of the match) and we were 41-2.
A rebuilding job was needed and Compton and Petersen responded well, putting on a solid partnership of 47 off 15.3 overs.
Durham, concerned the ball had gone out of shape – and no longer swinging – successfully called for a change and for a brief while got some movement, making a loud appeal for lbw against Compton.
Petersen then played a loose shot to guide the ball to slip off Arshad and we were 88-3. Just four runs later, Hildreth tried to drive outside off and got a nick through to Mustard, again off Arshad, and we were in real trouble.
Had Borthwick taken that chance to slip off Kieswetter early in his innings, we would have been in serious difficulty at 115-5. As it was the Somerset keeper dug in with Compton and the pair remained untroubled for the remainder of the day.
Afterwards, Marcus spoke to the BBC about Compton’s ton: “It was a brilliant knock. Getting a hundred here at the Riverside is always tough, but he has been struggling with a neck injury for the last few days.
“We have done everything we can. Our medical team has worked tirelessly to get him back in the position because we can see what he can do, we know what kind of players he is – a world-class player – when he gets into that environment.”
Durham skipper Paul Collingwood said: “You can see what two international-class batsmen can do on a pitch where it’s pretty flat, there’s no turn and there’s no swing.
“We are putting teams under pressure for long periods, but we are just not quite finishing them off.”