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Cook sets his target for safety
DURHAM coach Geoff Cook yesterday set his side a target of two more victories from the remaining four games after the innings win against Surrey lifted them three places up the table.
They might be overtaken by Worcestershire if they beat Warwickshire today but two successive wins will send Durham into their toughest remaining game, at Trent Bridge next week, with renewed confidence.
Cook does not expect Graham Onions to be available for the first four sessions of that match because he will again be named in the England squad for the third Test.
"The ECB have already requested that Graham should not play in our two home CB 40 matches this weekend," said Cook. "But if he's not in the team for the Test he will come into our game on the second day."
Durham won by an innings and 38 runs yesterday and moved seven points ahead of Lancashire and five ahead of Surrey, who were fortunate to have only one point deducted for their slow over-rate.
Cook said: "We have had two successive wins but the signs were good before that. We now have to win two more out of the last four to get into a safe position, which is our short-term aim.
"Without taking anything away from Phil Mustard, Paul Collingwood's appointment as captain gave everyone a huge boost initially. It was a change of voice from someone whose achievements command respect.
"He has provided a really positive lead in getting the best out of a disciplined bowling unit. I don't know whether it's coincidental but Ben Stokes' bowling has really improved over the last three or four games and Chris Rushworth is developing all the time.
"We have talked incessantly about tough conditions and you begin to wonder if you are making excuses.
"For this game we have had good weather and it was the best pitch we've had here this season, which was reflected in batsmen's ability to stay in. The stand between Collingwood and Dale Benkenstein swayed the issue.
"Keaton Jennings also did a great job on his debut. He faced around 70 balls, which makes life easier for those coming in after him. He will also have learned from his run out that things happen more quickly at this level."
When Durham's over-rate slipped to minus one yesterday they turned to spin for the first time in the match and Scott Borthwick took the last two wickets as Surrey were all out for 143.
Although the leg-spinner took some punishment, his 5.2 overs were sufficient to get Durham's rate back up to the required 16 overs an hour.
When Surrey resumed on 69 for five, nightwatchman Tim Linley fell to the sixth ball without addition to the total.
He was lbw to an in-swinger from Rushworth and nine overs later left-handed opener Rory Burns finally departed, having faced 130 balls for his 39.
He fended a vicious lifter from Onions towards first slip and Phil Mustard dived across to take the catch.
With the score on 104 for seven Durham brought on Borthwick and his first over cost ten as Gareth Batty pulled and drove him to the boundary.
Batty and Matthew Spriegel put on 23 before the left-hander survived a big appeal for caught behind on 17, prompting Callum Thorp to bang the next ball in.
Spriegel shaped to hook but got a top edge and Stokes ran back from third slip to dive forward and take a fine catch.
Borthwick had bowled four overs for 24 runs when he snared Jon Lewis, turning his leg break for Collingwood to hold the edge at first slip.
Batty was last out for 22, pulling a catch straight to Mark Stoneman at deep mid-wicket.
Mitchell Claydon has signed a new, two-year deal to extend his stay with Durham.