Horton and Azad post half-centuries at Durham

DAY 2 | Durham CCC 544 for 9d v Leicestershire CCC 152 for four

SCORECARD | Available from Cricinfo HERE

REACTION | Paul Horton spoke to BBC Radio Leicester’s Richard Rae at stumps. The interview is available HERE

REPORT | Half-centurions Hassan Azad and Paul Horton shared a 100-run opening partnership but Durham CCC hit back with four late wickets on day two at Emirates Riverside.

Durham CCC posted a first innings score of 544 for nine declared following impressive day two stints at the crease from Ned Eckersley (71no), Liam Trevaskis (37) and Brydon Carse (43), who built on previous good work from Alex Lees (181) and Jack Burnham (86).

Will Davis carried his form over from the Vitality Blast in taking three wickets, and County responded with 152 for four.

Horton and Azad opened the Foxes’ response superbly putting on 100 for the first wicket but the skipper’s dismissal was part of a period where four wickets fell for the addition of 43 runs.

Leicestershire CCC came back out for day two looking to earn their second bowling bonus point of the game and restrict Durham to only four of the five bonus batting points in the remaining 14 overs until the 110-over window ended.

Muhammad Abbas and Davis got things back underway, bowling to the partnership of Liam Trevaskis and Nathan Rimmington, and at the end of the tenth over in the second day came the breakthrough for the Foxes.

It was Davis who claimed the wicket, his third of the fixture to bank Leicestershire CCC’s second bonus point, as Nathan Rimmington (25) missed a delivery that swung back in and disturbed the middle and leg stumps.

Durham CCC soon joined them in adding an extra bonus point within the first hour of play on day two, as Rimmington’s replacement, former Fox and newly appointed Durham captain Eckersley, came to the crease and played Abbas for three to reach the 400-run mark.

Gavin Griffiths was next to get in on the act for the Foxes after pinning Trevaskis lbw. Chris Wright followed closely behind with the wicket of Ben Raine, trapping the all-rounder in front for eight.

Lunch came 10 minutes early due to a shower which forced the umpires to end the first session prematurely with Durham CCC at 461 for eight. There was another stoppage early in the afternoon session.

Eckersley went on to become the third half-centurion of the innings for Durham after posting a 59-ball fifty, pushing Ackermann out for a quick single to bring up the milestone.

In the same over, Carse saw the home side over the 500-run mark with back-to-back boundaries off the spinner.

The hosts finally declared following the run out of Carse as excellent fielding between Wright and Harry Swindells saw the bowler go for an impressive 43.

County got their response underway halfway through the afternoon session of day two as Azad and Horton came to the crease, with Chris Rushworth opening the bowling.

When Azad registered his 10th run - the second of a three off Rushworth - he had recorded 1,000 first-class runs for Leicestershire CCC in 2019, moving to 1,025 in total when you take into account the runs made for Loughborough MCCU.

By tea, Leicestershire CCC were yet to lose a wicket with both opening batsman at the crease come the second interval of the day.

There was solid defence mixed with some good attacking strokes, and with 18 overs gone, Leicestershire CCC were successfully seeing out the new ball with Horton approaching his half-century on 41* and Azad laying the foundation with 21*. The score on 63 without loss.

Soon after the third session of the day got underway, skipper Horton played his way to a half-century from 81 balls including five fours.

The opening duo brought up the Leicestershire ton as Horton flicked Rimmington down to fine-leg for a single.

Both batsmen had pulled the ball well, with some clever deflections through the off-side also adding to the score.

But, with the next ball Horton faced in the next over off Carse, he nicked through to Robson at first slip. Horton went for a foundation-laying 52.

Durham followed the breakthrough up with the wicket of Neil Dexter (0) as he nicked his fourth ball through to ‘keeper Eckersley.

The hosts suddenly gained a bit of momentum. Mark Cosgrove (21) came to the crease at a pivotal time in the fixture and weathered the initial onslaught from the Durham bowling attack well, hitting multiple boundaries within his first five overs faced.

Also, the left-hander built the partnership well with Azad, who made his way to a sixth Specsavers County Championship half-century from 117 balls on a day where he signed a new two-year contract at the club.

Cosgrove, however, could not manage to see out the remainder day after Trevaskis bowled the batsman with a delivery that spun sharply into him.

Another key blow was struck when tall seamer Carse bowled a wicked bouncer from the Finchale End which deflected off the batsman’s glove to see him caught at short fine-leg by Peter Handscomb for 53.

Ackermann (7no) was joined by nightwatchman Wright (5no), who saw out the remaining two overs to see the Foxes through to day three.

FIGURES (1st inns) | Abbas 30-3-94-1, Wright 23-4-105-1, Griffiths 23-3-80-2, Davis 28-4-100-3, Ackermann 17-2-84-0, Dexter 18.3-4-66-0

TEAM | Horton (capt), Abbas, Ackermann, Azad, Cosgrove, Davis, Dearden, Dexter, Griffiths, Swindells (wk), Wright

Durham CCC | Lees, Steel, Robson, Burnham, Handscomb, Eckersley (capt & wk), Trevaskis, Raine, Carse, Rimmington, Rushworth

IMAGES | Thanks to John Mallett of Outside Off for providing the images throughout the game