DURHAM will be looking to get back to the top of the County Championship table when they host Middlesex tomorrow.
Paul Collingwood’s men had a short spell at the top of Division One after winning three of their five championship clashes so far – losing the other two matches.
But Middlesex now sit proudly at the summit of the table, having also picked up three wins from five, but having drawn the other two games.
They are just 8.5 points ahead of a Durham side which started the campaign on the back foot.
The men from the Emirates ICG were deducted 2.5 points before a ball was bowled in the championship after admitting to a breach of the English Cricket Board’s wage capping results last term.
But with Collingwood’s men having picked up 70.5 points so far, they will out to add to their tally by getting another home success under their belts.
Should they pull off victory against Middlesex, they will have to do so without the experience of veteran Dale Benkenstein.
Benkenstein – who scored 74 in Durham’s first innings in their win over Surrey in their previous championship game – is due to undergo surgery tomorrow to repair a badly torn left rotator cuff tendon.
Durham hope that the South African will be able to return to the action before the end of the campaign.
However, there are fears in some quarters that the one-day skipper could be out for rest of the season.
Benkenstein’s absence means that Durham will have to look to bolster their batting line-up, with Keaton Jennings and Michael Richardson the most likely candidates to fill the breach.
Ryan Buckley gave an outstanding performance on his championship debut at the Oval.
The youngster returned career best figures of 5-86 to leave the Surrey batsmen reeling.
However, that may not be enough to earn him a place in the side tomorrow, with Collingwood possibly opting for an extra seam option rather than a second spinner.