Derbyshire claimed eight wickets on Day One of their LV= County Championship fixture against Durham at Seat Unique Riverside.
After a solid start, Durham were reduced to 126 for four, but Ollie Robinson ensured that his team capitalised after winning the toss with a blistering century from 93 balls before he was dismissed for 114.
Robinson scored his first century for Durham, while Brydon Carse backed up his team-mate with flowing innings of 77 not out, notching his second first-class fifty in a row to allow the home side to post 410 for eight on day one.
Ben Aitchison was the best of the Derbyshire bowlers with three wickets for 111, while Luis Reece and Zak Chappell also claimed strikes apiece, but it was a tough day for the visitors amid aggressive batting from the hosts.
Durham won the toss and Alex Lees set about flexing his England credentials at the top of the order. He impressed with the fluency of his knock as he worked Chappell and Aitchison around the ground for six boundaries in the first hour.
However, Aitchison switched ends and swung a delivery between bat and pad to prise out Lees for a well-made 45 from 44 balls, as the opener failed to make the substantial knock that he may require to force his way back into England contention.
Chappell found his rhythm and troubled Scott Borthwick before he found the left-hander’s outside edge. David Bedingham then fell cheaply and presented Chappell with his second, while Haider Ali pulled off a sensational one-handed catch at second slip to dismiss Michael Jones for 43 to put the visitors in the ascendancy.
Robinson arrived at the crease and played with positive intent, scoring early boundaries to put the pressure back on the Derbyshire attack. The wicket-keeper’s timing was superb, particularly straight down the ground where he punished Chappell, Aitchison and Conners for over-pitching.
Derbyshire turned to spinner Mark Watt to try to find a semblance of control, but Robinson continued his aggressive approach, clearing the rope twice over mid-wicket and down the ground in the afternoon session to ensure Durham put their foot on the accelerator.
Robinson shared a stand worth 106 with Clark to set the foundation of the Durham innings. The 24-year-old had passed fifty twice without registering three figures for his new club, but he upped the ante to surge through the nineties to notch his first century of the season, looking at ease in the middle by posting the milestone in 93 deliveries.
Reece ended his brilliant knock for 114, pinning Robinson on the crease to open up an end for Derbyshire to probe into the lower order. Carse halted their charge following in Robinson’s footsteps and continuing his fine form with the bat after scoring a career-best 91 against Glamorgan with a brisk fifty from 66 balls.
Paul Coughlin offered a more than useful foil at the other end with his ninth fifty in first-class cricket, putting together a 100-run partnership for the eighth wicket. Coughlin fell for 52, but Durham still ended the day well on top after earning their fourth batting bonus point as bad light halted proceedings.
Derbyshire’s Ben Aitchison said: “The first hour and the last session was definitely theirs. It tossed and turned at times during the day, and we stuck at what we were trying to do. Getting eight wickets in the day is not too bad, but hopefully, we can get them all quickly on day two and get out there with the bat. There are a couple of balls that bounce low, but overall it’s a good cricket pitch, so if you get in you can get big scores like a couple of their batters did.
“We all know that we can improve on everything we’ve done so far. But, we do need to step it up starting with getting those final wickets quickly. I found a bit of rhythm to get three wickets, so I’m going to take it and build on it going forward.”
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