GRAHAM Onions is the talk of cricket after a career-best 9-67 for Durham against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge.
Onions missed the opening day of Durham’s LV= County Championship clash due to being called up for England duty.
However, having not made the starting XI to face South Africa at Lord’s, the seamer was subsequently released, and made a quick dash up the M1 to join his county side.
Durham had struggled badly with the bat on a rain-affected first day, and they fared only slightly better at the crease on day two.
The visitors were all out for 194, and badly in need of their talismanic seamer against a Nottinghamshire side that hasn’t lost a First Division game all season.
But no one could have predicted what was about to follow as a master-class from Onions demolished the hosts.
A display, which brought career-best figures of 9-67, was truly a sight to behold, and then top things off the star man denied himself a 10-fer by running out Luke Fletcher as Notts crumbled to 154 all out – some 40 runs behind Durham.
And Onions himself was the first to admit it was an amazing moment for him.
“It was a special day for me, and most importantly for Durham,” he said.
“There have been some downs, but in the last few weeks we have started to bowl as a unit.
“I bowled well last week and, if you like, got rewards yesterday. We see ourselves in a strong position.”
Having not made the England starting line-up, there was only one place Onions wanted to be.
And no one was more delighted than him that his motorway dash had paid dividends.
He said: “I knew yesterday morning that I wasn’t playing in the England side, so I got in my car and went straight to Trent Bridge.
“To come back to the county that I love playing for, and to take wickets that puts our side in a pretty decent position, puts a smile on my face.
“To take nine wickets is really something, and still needs to sink in – it’s fantastic. I was more than happy to get the run out – I guess now you think it would have been fantastic to take 10 wickets, but I can’t be unhappy with nine!”
SEE Friday’s Mail for full story