Lamentable Durham students shown up by Stokes

Durham University’s second innings total of 18 against Durham at Chester-le-Street was the lowest score in English first-class cricket since Surrey were routed for 14 by Essex at Chelmsford in 1983.

Prior to that it is necessary to go back a further 61 years to find a lower total than 18, Hampshire making 15 at Edgbaston in 1922.

The previous lowest first-class total against Durham was 58 by Somerset at Riverside in 2003, when Shoaib Akhtar and Neil Killeen did the damage.

Although it was overcast and there was some moisture in the pitch after several days without sun, the students’ lack of application was lamentable with the four extras exceeded only by Rishab Shah’s score of seven.

They batted a man short with one of their better players, Luke Blackaby, who has played for Kent seconds, being recorded as absent hurt.

Ben Stokes, who at 20 is younger than some of the students, thrashed 93 off 70 balls in the first innings, hit six sixes in again top scoring with 65 off 45 balls in his second knock, and completed the rout by taking four for three in four overs.

Durham’s head coach, Geoff Cook, said: “Durham University have been really strong in the past and these things are cyclical. We don’t see the others, but I gather some of them are quite strong. It’s good that they are still supported by the MCC, but they are continually reviewing the situation.”

He added: “This will have no relevance at all in terms of how the other counties view us.” Durham won last year’s game by an innings and 44 runs and yesterday’s margin was 373 runs. They declared at their overnight second innings total of 193 for seven and it was all over in 77 minutes on the third day.

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