A youthful Durham debutant, Liam Plunkett, demonstrated enormous potential in his deconstruction of Yorkshire’s batsmen. Plunkett took five for 52 in the first innings, a decent return for the 18 year old who claimed, "I just hoped to get one [wicket] on my debut". Allied with Dewald Pretorious’ second innings spell, which witnessed the dismissal of 4 Yorkshiremen for an extremely economical 15 runs, this was evidently too much for the home side, known as the Tykes.
Yorkshire began their first innings (having been set 280 runs by Durham) much as they ended their second: appallingly. Matthew Wood set the tone inauspiciously by falling foul of an lbw decision on the very first ball the team faced (he showed a marked improvement next time round, however, standing up to no fewer than eight balls before succumbing to the lure of the players gallery. Still no runs, however). But it is unfair to single Wood out in a line up which managed only 93 runs in the second innings. Saturday’s heroes, Yuvraj Singh and Matt Lumb, who scored 56 and 105 respective runs, became the standard on Sunday with one and nine.
Ominously, Yorkshire appeared to be facing an even earlier humiliation. At 143 for eight in the first session, it was the appearance of the club Chaplain, on the interim balcony between player and press boxes, which appeared to have a positive effect. A joke began to circulate that there would be a flash of light and 100 runs would be added to the scoreboard. While signs of celestial intervention were nowhere near so obvious, Lumb did suddenly start to hit out and made his century in the 58th over, promting York too reach within 60 runs of their opponents before being bowled out. This was sorely inadequate however, when juxstaposed with their subsequent innings which left the North Easterners with a monumental 167 run victory.
The Headingley club’s most significant boon, perhaps, was Darren Gough’s demonstration that his ankle injury, a perennial feaure of the last year, is nearly healed. In addition to last week’s two wickets against Worcestershire the rotund pace bowler managed a further three, including that of his namesake, Michael: number two in the Durham order. This exertion, however, was sufficient to send him physio-bound for two overs in the second innings, following which he returned to the field and took the scalp of young Plunkett.
Gough’s other contribution was to rouse the interest of the waning crowd. As the afternoon’s temperature rose the audience’s enthusiasm troughed, so the introduction of one of England’s most highly regarded players was such as to provoke some dearly needed ebullience, complete with all the requisite songs and chanting. The Durham batsmen in waiting were rendered equally vociferous. "Run Goughie, you fat b*stard", became their usual response to any attempt, on his part, to chase down shots bound for his vicinity.
Unfortunately, the Tykes were inadequate to the task of responding to such vitriol, and the reward for Durham’s result was 19 points in the Frizzell County Championships. Yorkshire, who clearly missed the impetus afforded by their international absentees (Michael Vaughan, Matthew Hoggard and, first choice captain, Anthony Mc Grath), showed a need for concerted improvement in every aspect of their cricket, in order to avoid such defeats becoming repetitive.