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Durham have it all to do - again.

Byline: Stuart Rayner

DURHAM'S batsmen showed they had learned the lessons of a dismal first innings yesterday, yet still they will resume this morning with a strong sense of dj vu.

Dale Benkenstein and Phil Mustard began Thursday with their team needing another 224 to avoid the follow-on.

Today Durham are 146 behind, and Benkenstein and Ben Stokes know they will need plenty more to put victory beyond Somerset.

Both tasks were made more daunting by the early-evening loss of batting rock Michael Di Venuto.

That Durham had learned from Nick Compton's 254 not out was good news for them, less so for the spectators.

While the morning session was a procession of largely soft wickets, what followed was turgid but necessary on another slow pitch. Somerset did not have to wait long to make morning inroads, Mustard lbw not getting forward to Steve Kirby, cutting his partnership with Benkenstein short at 52.

Nursing a bad back, Ian Blackwell's runner allowed him to concentrate on doing what he does best - smashing fours - without worrying about what he does worst - scampering singles.

He soon lost Benkenstein, chopping on to Gemaal Hussain, as Graham Onions would to Charl Willoughby for the final wicket.

The late-order batsmen managed an eye-catching shot or two, Scott Borthwick a short-armed pull and checked square drive in consecutive balls, Callum Thorp driving through the covers, and Onions a backfoot drive for two.

However, Borthwick feathered behind, Thorp guided to slip when Willoughby extracted extra bounce, and Blackwell chipped a sitter to mid-on.

Needing 270 more to avoid the followon, Durham's last six wickets contributed 46.

Given a second chance, they seemed to appreciate the value of Nick Comptonlike patience over Denis Compton-esque panache.

There were noisy appeals when the fielders thought Di Venuto under-edged a pull on 17, but spectators could have been forgiven a post-lunch slumber as the batsmen dawdled along at a little over two an over, having been nearer four first time around.

Today is the first anniversary of Smith losing his job as captain and the likeable batsman's long-term future remains in the air.

Into the final year of his contract, he has until the highly-rated Mark Stoneman's broken hand has healed to prove he can turn promising starts into something more substantial.

On 30, he was perhaps unlucky to be given lbw to a delivery which looked like it might clear his stumps as it jagged back.

After a first-innings duck and two dropped catches, the game had not begun well for Gordon Muchall.

Having played and narrowly missed at his second ball, he will have been glad to see Somerset's Lewis Gregory bearing gifts.

The England under-19 captain served up two long hops cut hungrily to the boundary to start a three-over spell costing 30.

The first over after tea from Hussain saw three more Muchall boundaries in four deliveries, through mid-on, cover and point.

In all he hit ten in his 53-ball 50 before falling into a stupor, a four through longoff ending a spell of five runs in 38 deliveries.

They would be his last runs before jabbing down late on a full ball from Peter Trego and being given lbw for 61.

Di Venuto was unusually but admirably circumspect, hitting just four fours in his first 50, five in his second, although the powerful backfoot drive off Willoughby was a beauty.

Just as Durham were starting to make a draw look a realistic possibility, and roughly 24 hours since Di Venuto's previous dismissal, second slip Marcus Trescothick stretched out a hand to take what could be a match-winning catch.

The weather and Durham could stop that being the case, but we have been there before. It did not end well.

SCOREBOARD Durham v Somerset At: Emirates Durham ICG Overnight: Somerset 610-6 dec (N R D Compton 254 no, M E Trescothick 144, P D Trego 98, J C Hildreth 54). Durham 182-4 (M J Di Venuto 86).

Durham First Innings D M Benkenstein b Hussain.............................. 33 P Mustard lbw b Kirby ...................................... 22 I D Blackwell c Kirby b Hussain ........................ 14 S G Borthwick c Buttler b Hussain .................... 15 C D Thorp c Trescothick b Willoughby ................. 7 G Onions b Willoughby........................................ 2 R M R Brathwaite not out .................................. 0 Extras (b10 lb10 w2 nb2 pens 0)................. 24 Total ((64.4 overs)).................................... 237 Fall: 1-71 2-77 3-123 4-139 5-191 6-201 7-221 8-235 9-235 Bowling: Willoughby 14.4 3 57 2; Kirby 18 2 56 3; Hussain 17 6 49 4; Trego 8 0 33 0; Gregory 4 0 15 1; Suppiah 3 1 7 0; Durham Second Innings Close W R Smith lbw b Trego..................................... 30 M J Di Venuto c Trescothick b Kirby..................112 G J Muchall lbw b Trego ................................... 61 B A Stokes not out ............................................. 6 D M Benkenstein not out ................................. 10 Extras (lb8 pens 0).......................................8 Total (3 wkts (79 overs)) ........................... 227 Fall: 1-89 2-209 3-214 To Bat: I D Blackwell, P Mustard, S G Borthwick, C D Thorp, G Onions, R M R Brathwaite.

Bonus Points: Durham 2 Somerset 8 Bowling: Willoughby 15 5 41 0; Kirby 18 6 29 1; Trego 14 3 35 2; Hussain 12 2 53 0; Suppiah 17 5 31 0; Gregory 3 0 30 0

CAPTION(S):

BIG BLOW Durham's Michael Di Venuto hits out against Somerset, but the visitors later claimed his wicket
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:May 13, 2011
Words:894
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