Statistical Preview: Durham

Tuesday 18th July 2023
& News
Photography by: David Griffin

Derbyshire welcome Durham to headquarters to play a first-class match after a 66-day gap since their last red ball game at The Incora County ground.

Heritage Officer David Griffin previews the match.

Derbyshire lost the corresponding game by an innings and seven runs at Chester-le-Street in late April and will be looking to win against Durham at Derby for the first time since 2019 when they won by 125 runs.

The two counties have only met on 34 occasions, Durham becoming the most recent of the 18 counties to join the first-class fold in 1992, with Derbyshire winning six times, Durham 14 with 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 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 at number eight 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, while Matt Lamb was dismissed for 99 in the game at Chester-le-Street in April this year. 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 that man Cork taking three, the most, although the best innings figures are Ben Aitchison’s six for 28 at Derby in 2021, with Kevin Dean’s ten 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.

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