Statistical Preview: Durham

Wednesday 26th April 2023
Photography by: David Griffin

Derbyshire travel to the north east to face Durham in their third championship  game of the season beginning on 27th April.

Heritage Officer David Griffin previews the match.

The last five first class matches between Derbyshire and Durham have ended in draws and Derbyshire will be looking to break a run of away games which has seem them winless at Chester-le-Street since they won by 165 runs in 2004 when Jon Moss made a splendid 147 not out.

The last two positive results both came in 2019 when each side won their home fixture: Durham by 29 runs and Derbyshire by 125 runs.

The likelihood of that Derbyshire victory looked in tatters in the first over of the new season when the home side were nought for two after just three balls with Luis Reece and Wayne Madsen both back in the dressing room.

Harvey Hosein’s 78 offered some respectability although 197 all out appeared below par, but when Durham replied with 171 thanks mainly to Luis Reece’s five for 47 it offered the home side an opportunity to make amends for their first innings.

Tom Lace, Hosein and Matt Critchley all made half centuries and with useful runs from Madsen and Alex Hughes Derbyshire set Durham the stiff task of 361 to win.

Openers Lees and Hart added 83 but once Critchley made the breakthrough Durham’s hopes diminished as wickets fell at regular intervals, seven players failing to reach double figures.

Critchley took three for 54 with the remaining wickets shared amongst the bowling unit as Durham were dismissed for 235 leaving Derbyshire as comfortable winners.

The two counties have only met on 33 occasions, Durham becoming the most recent of the 18 counties to join the first-class fold in 1992, with Derbyshire winning six times, Durham 13, and 14 draws.

There have been 19 hundreds scored against Durham in first class matches including three doubles. Michael Di Venuto scored four centuries including 203 at Derby in 2005, but for sheer quality Mohammad Azharuddin’s 205 at Chesterfield in 1994 – in a losing cause – surely ranks at the top of the list, not just numerically.

Azharuddin had excelled in his first spell at Derbyshire, scoring over 2,000 first class runs in 1991, a feat only achieved three times in the club’s history. A sublime cricketer, he evoked memories of those other overseas greats, Barlow, Kirsten, and Wright, dominating attacks just as they had done and looking every inch the world class Test player.

Against Durham in 1994 he batted beautifully, finding gaps in the field that others could not, and hitting six sixes, all off the bowling of left arm spinner David Graveney, several of them into the lake. Later in the season, Brian Lara would score a hundred before lunch on the same ground for Warwickshire against Derbyshire. Lara was widely acknowledged as the world’s finest, but few present to witness both innings would be able to differentiate between the two innings in terms of quality.

For sheer bravura, however, Dominic Cork’s unbeaten 200 at Derby in 2000 was remarkable. Derbyshire were all out for 167 by mid-afternoon on the opening day of the game, Cork scoring 45 off 53 balls, and were batting again by the close as Kevin Dean (six for 52) bowled superbly with Durham dismissed for 144.

On the second day the regular fall of wickets continued as Derbyshire stumbled to 121 for six before Cork – batting at number eight – joined Matthew Dowman at the crease.

At tea, the score was 240 for six and they were still batting together at the end of the day, both having reached their centuries giving Derbyshire a lead of 369.

On the third morning Derbyshire’s spectators were treated to some splendid striking as the seventh wicket partnership stretched to 258, a new record which remains as the highest in the club’s history for that wicket.

In just 82 minutes on the third morning Derbyshire added 130 runs, with Cork scoring 95 of them off 63 balls with a further 15 fours and three sixes.

His 200 not out (32 fours and three sixes) remains the highest score by a Derbyshire number eight, and only thirteen higher scores have been made batting in that position in the history of the game worldwide.

Typically, with Durham in pursuit of 500 to win, Cork took a wicket with the first ball of their second innings before Dean (three for 49) and Tim Munton (three for 44) did the bulk of the damage leaving Derbyshire emphatic winners by 232 runs.

Among the current squad, Reece has scored two hundreds against Durham, while Leus du Plooy scored a hundred in each innings of the game at Chester-le-Street in 2022, a game in which Brooke Guest also reached three figures. Du Plooy is the only player to register a hundred in each innings of a match against Durham, while Guest is the sole ‘keeper to perform the feat.

The record partnership for any wicket is 272 for the third between Di Venuto and Hasan Adnan at Derby in 2005; Dowman and Cork added 258 for the seventh wicket in 2000 while the other partnership worth more than 200 came at Chester-le-Street in 2022 when Guest and du Plooy combined to add 248 for the fifth wicket.

Five wicket hauls number 21 against Durham with Cork taking three of them, the most, although the best innings figures are Ben Aitchison’s six for 28 at Derby in 2021, with Kevin Dean’s 10 for 105 the best match analysis, at Chester-le-Street in 2001. Cork – at Derby in 2002 – and Duanne Olivier – at Chester-le-Street in 2018 – also took ten wickets in a match.

Match Result:
Thu 27 Apr 2023 - Sun 30 Apr 2023
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