FITTINGLY, the cricket was a real battle at Chester-le-Street – and not only for the players.
Once Shivnarine Chanderpaul got set at the Rose Bowl, it was looking like a futile one but it was hard not to admire those who gritted their teeth and got on with it.
Regardless of the result here, it appears Worcestershire will be celebrating on Thursday, and Durham will not be.
The relegation-threatened Pears are inching closer to safety and Chanderpaul’s Warwickshire are tightening their grip on the County Championship title.
With so much to be decided this week, Durham were hoping for blue skies and dry weather. They got both, but instead had to fight a fierce wind blowing from the pavilion to the old scoreboard.
The umpires soon gave up on heavy bails, playing without for most of the day, and wisely refused hats, sparing them the indignity of chasing them as some fielders would. Bowlers regularly had to abort run-ups and most people in the middle were blown off their feet at an inopportune moment.
By the time Durham had won the toss the tarpaulins were in the trees on the river side of the grounds. Realising they were fighting a losing battle, the groundstaff abandoned them. Sky TV took down their satellite dish, depriving armchair viewers of updates.
The tougher the conditions, the more Will Smith seems to like it. Of all the batsmen, Smith appeared to find rhythm hardest to come by, yet he scored twice as many as anyone.