MICHAEL Richardson shrugged off the surprise of having to don the wicketkeeping gloves to star with the bat for Durham yesterday.
However, bowlers were on top at Chester-le-Street as 14 wickets fell on the opening day of the LV= County Championship Division One clash against Nottinghamshire.
On a pitch offering some encouragement to the seamers, title-chasing Nottinghamshire had cause for satisfaction in dismissing their struggling hosts for 253 after losing the toss, but they then slumped to 66-4 by stumps as Durham fought back.
John Hastings sparked the revival as he took two wickets in two balls in the second over of Notts’ reply.
The Australian had Steven Mullaney caught behind for a duck then pinned James Taylor – named in England’s Twenty20 squad earlier – lbw with a full-length ball which swung in late.
It became 37-3 as Chris Rushworth gained an lbw verdict when bowling round the wicket to Michael Lumb, but Samit Patel looked in good touch in reaching 26 until he pushed forward to the last ball of the day and edged Paul Coughlin to second slip.
Durham have five bowlers injured, plus Ben Stokes also absent on England duty, so they handed a debut to Irish seamer Peter Chase, who was registered two weeks ago.
They were also without wicketkeeper Phil Mustard, who had injured a knee in training, so Richardson took the gloves after top-scoring with a tenacious 73.
He said: “It’s a good pitch and we hoped to get 300, but the seamers on both sides have bowled really well.
“I only found out in the morning I would be keeping wicket. I gave it up because it takes a lot for Phil Mustard to miss a game, but I’ve always wanted to keep my hand in and I don’t see it as a burden.
“Paul Collingwood asked me where I wanted to bat and I said I’d stay at four because I’ve enjoyed it there. I didn’t want to drop down to seven.”
Mustard’s absence handeda recall to South Shields ace Gordon Muchall, and he finished unbeaten on 37 after running out of partners.