Hastings helps revive Durham

Paul Coughlin appeals for a wicket
Paul Coughlin appeals for a wicket

For all intents and purposes, Durham were down and out. On the ropes at effectively 65-6 on Day Two against Somerset, there was seemingly no route back.

Yet once more, they prospered in the face of adversity.

It’s the culture instilled in the club and one that I love.

The Riversiders set Somerset a target of 279 and could even be considered favourites to win this intriguing back-and-forth encounter.

How does this squad carry on mustering stunning fight-backs from such positions? John Hastings offered a simple solution – the North East spirit.

“They’re a very together unit. It’s a small place up here and that’s what I like about it. They’re very modest, soul of the earth people and that carries through with how they play their cricket,” he said.

“There are a lot of locals in this side and guys that have been here a long time. It’s the culture instilled in the club and one that I love.

“Guys see Colly (Paul Collingwood) wanting to play for Durham, how much passion and pride he has for playing for Durham, it just filters through down into the young guys.”

The Australian all-rounder led the charge, set up beautifully by Collingwood and Paul Coughlin, to ensure a premature last day will be an exciting one at the Emirates Durham ICG.

“The first 20 or 30 overs is absolute crucial,” Hastings said.

“If we come out and bowl like we have done in the past, it’s going to be a very, very good contest.”

Collingwood and Coughlin, thrown together with sparse hope of saving the game at 101-6, faced a conundrum; counter-attack or play more conservatively, knowing there was plenty of time left in the game.

They opted for the former with great effect.

Both displayed exemplary drives down the ground while showing gritty determination, a trademark of the England veteran clearly rubbing off on his 22-year-old batting partner.

Even when Collingwood became Craig Overton’s third victim on 58, Coughlin refused to budge and reached his half-century in 80 balls.

The Sunderland-born bowler departed in disappointing fashion, chipping to Tim Groenewald’s hands at mid-on, but Hastings soon started to show his impressive array of strokes.

When Somerset skipper Marcus Trescothick spread his field, he started to clear them instead.

And when he eventually departed Chris Rushworth prolonged the pain as the number ten tucked into Somerset’s attack, going over the infield on numerous occasions, before perishing on 45 in the last over of the day.

Up until the seventh wicket partnership it had been another depressingly familiar story for Durham.

Collingwood aside, the top seven failed to register scores of note. Scott Borthwick and Michael Richardson were both handed reprieves after being dropped behind the stumps, yet failed to convert.

Some uneven bounce also contributed as Mark Stoneman’s dismissal reared up off a length, while Calum MacLeod’s drought continues following one that kept low to trap him lbw.

Keaton Jennings’ dismissal was also unfortunate but that he was even batting before lunch was testament to Durham’s bowlers inside the opening two hours.

Johann Myburgh clipped a wide Hastings ball behind while Jim Allenby’s nibbled at Rushworth’s teasing delivery three overs later.

Two wickets in as many balls threatened to derail the visitors’ chances of a batting point before Overton sliced his side past the 200 mark.

The 21-year-old fell soon after before Graham Onions had last man Groenewald caught attempting a heave into Lumley Castle.