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Colly proud of team
DURHAM'S new four-day captain, Paul Collingwood, yesterday spoke of his pride in his team's fighting spirit.
After going agonisingly close to snatching victory from the jaws of defeat at Arundel last week, they achieved the feat at home to Middlesex.
"I'm very proud of the way the lads have played," said Collingwood. "There are not many games you win after being bowled out for 102.
"Last week's game got the nerves going and we were very disappointed not to get over the line, but the lads have really stuck together and fought every single ball.
"When 500 plays 500 people says it's boring, but we have had some very exciting cricket on bowler-friendly pitches. People might say batsmen are giving their wickets away but it's very hard on these sort of pitches to find a rhythm and a method of scoring.
"Callum Thorp and Scott Borthwick were ultra positive in their stand on Saturday and it changed the game. They gave us a sniff, giving us a total we could defend.
"Callum's an attacking player who brings the bat through nice and straight and people have to stick to their strengths. The ball wasn't swinging as much at the time, so we discussed it before he went out and his approach came off."
Collingwood was full of praise for Graham Onions, who bowled throughout yesterday's 85 minutes of play, and reserve wicketkeeper Michael Richardson.
"In the first innings Graham was bowling at 60-70 per cent after his injury," said the captain. "But he got better with each spell and today he put in a fantastic effort.
"He led the team and stayed disciplined and I didn't have to think about resting him because he just wanted to keep going.
"Sometimes it takes something special for things to start going your way and Richo's catch in the second over was special. He had to dive a long way and the ball actually popped out of his gloves in mid-air, but he re-caught it.
"He has shown he can come in and fill Phil Mustard's shoes and have a positive impact on the team."
Collingwood had been unable to call on Ben Stokes' bowling on Saturday evening because the all-rounder ran off the field in what looked like a repeat of the nasty hand injury he suffered last season.
Again he dived to stop a fierce drive at cover, but this time the dislocated finger went back into place and he took the last two wickets yesterday.
"I brought him on because he was the most threatening bowler in the first innings," said Collingwood. "He brings the X factor because he swings the ball both ways and can cause problems for lower order batsmen. It was a gamble worth taking."