Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Payne and Liddle last wicket stand allows Glos to claim heartwarming draw

Glos 303 (Tavare 61, Dent 59) and 320 (Dent 101, Tavare 55) drew with Durham 419 (Miles 5 for 99) and 85 for 4 (Payne 2 for 13)
Gloucestershire continued to bounce back from their opening round hammering against Kent with a performance of fight and character against one of the division's heavily-fancied teams.But for financial ineptitude Durham would still be firmly rooted in Division 1, and whilst their batting may have been shorn of its Division 1 quality over the winter, their bowling attack very much still has a lovely top tier sheen.

Against this team Glos made 300 plus in both innings and bowled well enough to keep a lid on a team that contains two test quality openers and a still feisty Paul Collingwood. If we are to be critical then Glos should probably have capitalised more on their first innings. Various players got in, made nice fifties and then gave their wickets away to part time bowlers Collingwood and Keaton Jennings. The bowlers then pulled Glos out of a 335 for 5 sized hole and managed to end up restricting Durham to 419 and a lead of just over a 100.

Second time around Cameron Bancroft again continued to struggle, but fellow opener Chris Dent took up the slack and finally converted one of his early season fifties into a ton, all be it being dropped on 95 on his way there. This was Dent's 12th career hundred, to go alongside his 38 fifties, a ratio no doubt he would like to improve upon. Dent and Tavare again anchored the innings with calm heads but a new ball burst from Durham just after lunch on the last day suddenly saw the game slipping out of the Shire's reach. 202 for 4 and then 253 for 5 suddenly became 275 for 9, a lead of just 159 and with 50 overs left to play.

Cometh the hour, cometh Chris Liddle as Glos fans finally got a taste of why the 33 year old journeyman was in the team. The two of them put on 45 for the last wicket, and more importantly took out over an hour from the game and eventually Durham were left chasing 205 for victory in 31 overs.

After removing his pads David Payne strode back out to the middle and proceeded to take two quick wickets that helped reduce Durham to 15 for 3. Durham eventually called off the chase having reached 84 for 4 and with only 8 wickets remaining. In the modern game defending 205 in 31 overs can be seen as a fairly decent performance.

Whilst this far from a flawless performance it was definitely a match of grit and determination from the Shire. Durham will certainly fancy their chances of an immediate return to the top table of county cricket and facing an attack of Chris Rushworth, Mark Wood and Graham Onions is a challenge that Chris Dent and Will Tavare in particular seemed to relish.

However, some seerious question marks must be now hanging over Cameron Bancroft at the top of the order. The Australian now has 53 runs in his first 3 matches. Not exactly a Klinger-esque return and this coupled with his struggles last year must raise concerns. Whether captain Roderick's return would allow him to bed in down the order might be something to keep an eye on.

Bancroft aside the rest of the batting has got up and running fairly well for the season. Dent and Tavare have been excellent, Van Buuren has scored runs, as have Mustard and Jack Taylor. The tail has wagged as well as it did all of last year. Young George Hankins continues to struggle and presumably coach Richard Dawson will be weighing up how to help him progress. The bowlers have all been in the wickets, with Craig Miles the latest to claim a five for. Ok, Chris Liddle still seems a strange selection, but he can be forgiven this week. Presumably more of the young seamers will get a run out in the one day games and this may help them force themselves into 4 day contention.

Gloucestershire now sit proudly in the middle of the division 2 table as they now enter the group stage of the Royal London One Day Cup. Rather incredibly the entire group stage will be played out over the next 3 weeks, with no breaks for rounds of championship cricket, meaning that the competition may actually keep fans engaged and we won't find ourselves entering the final round of matches trying to remember what had happened previously. Glos welcome back Australian international Michael Klinger, something that presumably won't make Cameron Bancroft feel much better.

Video highlights below:

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

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