Durham’s Chris Rushworth took an impressive 15 wickets in 18 overs as relegated Northamptonshire expired without a fight in this LV= County Championship Division One match on a blameless Chester-le-Street pitch.
The 28-year-old Sunderland seamer, who had previously been without a five-wicket haul this season, had match figures of 20-3-95-15 as the visitors subsided for 83 and 90 - in reply to Durham’s 392 - to lose by an innings and 219 runs on day three.
They batted for a total of 40 overs and two balls. In the first innings Rushworth took nine for 52, the best analysis in the country this season. They were also the second best figures in Durham’s first-class history after Ottis Gibson’s 10 for 47 against Hampshire in 2007.
Rushworth’s previous best haul was six for 58 at home to Somerset in the first match of last season.
He is usually at his most dangerous on early season pitches but the overcast conditions suited him here as he took the first eight at a cost of 36 runs in 10 overs either side of lunch.
He conceded 13 runs off his ninth then Ben Stokes had Maurice Chambers (four) caught at second slip by Scott Borthwick.
Last man Mohammad Azharullah (two) slogged at nearly every ball, skying a catch to mid-off, where Mark Stoneman held his second catch after also accepting a careless drive by Neil Wagner (nought).
Of Rushworth’s seven other first-innings scalps, two were bowled, one was lbw and the others fell to edged catches. He has often bowled equally well this season without luck and began this match with 43 Championship wickets.
The ball which took him to 50 sent Rob Keogh’s (17) off stump flying. During an opening stand of 33 the greater threat appeared to come from Indian paceman Varun Aaron with his fast away swingers. When he did find the edge the ball dropped just short of Paul Collingwood at first slip.
Rushworth made the breakthrough in the ninth over when he had top scorer James Middlebrook (23) caught at second slip.
In his next two overs he had Kyle Coetzer (four) caught at fourth slip and nipped one back to have opener James Kettleborough (11) lbw in the over before lunch.
He struck twice in his first over after the break - claiming the wickets of both Adam Rossington (nine) and Rob Newton (nought) - before he bowled out Ben Duckett (nought) two overs later, and the procession continued in the second innings, when Stokes struck first by having Kettleborough (14) caught at first slip.
Rushworth took the next six to beat the record of 14 wickets in a match for Durham, set by current bowling coach Alan Walker at Chelmsford in 1995.
Coetzer was next to fall victim, while Middlebrook, Keogh and Newton also fell cheaply. Duckett (13) made it into double figures before he was caught by Borthwick and Andrew Hall lost his wicket in the 13th over.
At that point Rushworth had six for 27 in 6.1 overs the second innings but top scorer Rossington’s slogging produced a six over cover and two lofted fours down the ground to leave him with six for 43.
The reckless batting continued and Irishman Peter Chase profited with two of the last three wickets - seeing Rossington (22) and Wagner (13) both caught by Stoneman - while Aaron took his only one when Chambers (nought) edged via his pad to second slip.
Rushworth said: “It’s been an incredible day’s cricket - everything has happened so fast. There have been times when I have bowled as well as that this season with little reward.
“There wasn’t that much swing, but the pitch was offering some help so I just tried to hit the seam and get the ball in the right area. I was also helped by some good catches.
“I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t thinking about a ten-for in the first innings, but I’ll take nine. Winning the game is the most important thing and to do it so quickly gives us a bit more time off before our cup final at Lord’s.”