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THE surprising news when Durham resumed County Championship action at Worcester today was that new four-day captain Paul Collingwood was still not fit to resume.
Dale Benkenstein took the reins and after he lost the toss Durham were put in and reached 72 for one at lunch after 30 minutes were lost to rain.
Collingwood still has a painful lump on his right hand where he suffered a fracture after being struck by a ball from Warwickshire’s Chris Wright five weeks ago.
With Johann Myburgh not available for this game, reserve wicketkeeper Michael Richardson came in to play purely as a batsman and Callum Thorp was preferred to Mitch Claydon.
Play began on time but the heavy cloud, plus the forecast, suggested rain could arrive at any time and the brollies began to go up after 30 minutes, prompting the break with Durham on 26-0 in the ninth over.
Will Smith fell to the second ball on the resumption, pushing forward and edging Alan Richardson to third slip to depart for 11.
Gordon Muchall edged the next ball over the slips for four then edged Gareth Andrew for another boundary before being dropped by wicketkeeper Ben Scott, who dived in front of first slip.
Although Richardson initially looked a little rusty on his comeback from injury, his better balls troubled Mark Stoneman, who was off the mark with a scampered single in the fifth over.
On three Stoneman pulled Richard Jones for a big six, otherwise he concentrated on survival in tricky conditions. A couple of straight drives which would normally have earned fours at this time of year pulled up well short.
Muchall would be relieved to see Richardson rested after eight overs as it seemed that an inside edge twice saved him from lbw decisions and he went perilously close to being bowled when shouldering arms.
At lunch Stoneman was on 28 and Muchall 19.