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18th May 2011

Muchall and Blackwell partnership puts Durham in command

Four overs were played before rain caused a delay, which benefitted the hosts after they picked up the wickets of the openers quickly after the enforced break.

Michael Di Venuto was caught at second slip by Moeen Ali off the bowling off Wright for 8 and Will Smith (12), also caught in the cordon, but this time by Vikram Solanki off a Alan Richardson delivery, leaving Durham 24-2 in the tenth over.

At lunch Durham were 41-2 with Gordon Muchall 11* and Ben Stokes 5*.

Some confusion in the first over back out after a prolonged break due to rain saw Stokes run out without adding to his total and Durham reduced to 44-3 in the 16th over.

With weather conditions steadily improving, Muchall ploughed on and reached fifty from 84 balls, which included five boundaries, and with Dale Benkenstein alongside him put on 74 before the latter was caught by Solanki off Gareth Andrew for 33.

Solanki missed out on his third catch, dropping Muchall on 52 the following over, an error that would be rued  after the batsmen went on to put on an unbeaten 242 run partnership with Ian Blackwell, whose own fifty came off 65 balls and included five fours. 

There was absolute delight on the Durham balcony after Muchall went on to score his first hundred of the season, from 170 balls and including 14 fours ,and he quickly added 13 more to the total to claim the visitors second batting point.

The batted fluently to see Durham passed the 300 mark and Blackwell went on to score his third hundred of the season, off 111 balls, including 14 fours, with 10 overs remaining of the day’s play.

Muchall passed the 150 mark, off 234 balls including 20 fours, with four overs remaining and the side picked up a fourth batting point before the close.

By the close of play the pair had secured themselves seventh place in the first class record partnership list for Durham with 242.

Durham resume on day two with 360 – 4 on the board, Muchall 152* and Blackwell 130*.