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16th July 2009

Smith: 400 is our target then we put them under pressure

“I really wanted to play that Yorkshire game but I don’t think I was in the right frame of mind to do that and it wouldn’t have been fair on the other 10 players on the field.  So for me, coming back in for this game, I felt extra responsibility, not just as captain but having left them for one game I wanted to come back in and score runs.  I battled quite hard there and will continue to do so in similar situations.  It’s satisfying to get runs, especially against your old county, I got 80 here last year but one of these days I’d love to get a hundred here!”, said Smith.

Smith put on a 150 partnership with Dale Benkenstein, which proved to be crucial as Durham were 63-3 by the 25th over.

“Dale is a quality guy, a quality captain and a quality cricketer, what more can you say about him.  The effect he has had on this Club, and the effect he has had today, he made things look easy out there today.  He is quality in every respect and he is such a huge asset.

“ I think the partnership we had was pretty key, after the start of the day, with being put in, if someone had offered five down at the end of the day against that attack I would definitely have taken it.  The ideal situation would have seen me and Benki coming back in Thursday morning.

“It’s a funny wicket in that it looks quite flat in nature but it’s almost that flat and turgid that it’s quite hard to score if you bowl in the right areas and then with the second new ball there was a little bit of swing and seam movement as well, which did surprise me given that there was no cloud cover.  There is a bit there for the bowlers to work with, definitely.

“It was important against this side especially to get into the game early.  400 is the first target and if we get that I think we’ll be able to put them under a bit of pressure” added Smith.