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Footitt puts Durham to the sword on opening day

FootittMark Footitt claimed career-best figures of 6-53 to dismiss Durham on the opening day of the LV= County Championship fixture at Chester-le-Street.

Footitt enjoyed an exceptional day - setting the tone with two early wickets - before claiming three victims in one over late in the day, to complete a superb six-wicket haul.

Keaton Jennings top scored with 93 for the hosts, while keeper Phil Mustard added 52, but Footitt’s heroics ensured that Derbyshire ended the day the happier of the two sides. The visitors claimed the last six wickets for just 32 runs as Durham slumped from 221-4 to 253 all out.

Derbyshire had eight overs to navigate before the close, but lost Chesney Hughes in the opening over, to end the day on 15-1, still trailing by 238 runs but with nine wickets in hand.

Derbyshire won the toss and elected to bowl first, hoping to take advantage of the overcast conditions that covered Chester-le-Street throughout the morning session.

Captain Wayne Madsen, therefore, would have been delighted when Footitt claimed the early wicket of stand-in skipper Mark Stoneman for three. The left-arm seamer claimed his second wicket shortly after, trapping Scott Borthwick lbw for 22 to leave Durham 52-2 in the 13th over. 

Opener Jennings and Will Smith, however, regrouped and saw the hosts to the lunch interval without further incident, adding 45 runs to close the session on 97-2.

The Derbyshire bowlers, led by Tim Groenewald, fought back at the start of the afternoon session. The 29-year-old picked up two wickets in quick succession - first removing Smith for 43 before ending Michael Richardson’s (5) short vigil, reducing Durham to 132-4.

An excellent 90-run partnership between Mustard and Jennings helped put the hosts on top on 222-4 after the tea interval.

But all-rounder Wes Durston claimed two wickets within six balls to spark the visitors fightback.

Jennings was the first to go, trapped lbw for an impressive 93 off 222 balls – including eight fours – before Ben Stokes was well caught by Madsen off Durston’s final delivery of the over to leave the hosts 222-6.

Footitt then produced an exceptional spell to claim three wickets in an over, removing Gareth Breese (14), Mustard (52) and Callum Thorp (0), before bowling Chris Rushworth in his following over to dismiss Durham for 253 - and complete a superb sixth-wicket haul and claim career-best figures.

Derbyshire lost Hughes in the opening over of the reply, but Madsen (13*) and Richard Johnson (2*) held firm to end the day on 15-1, trailing by 238 runs. 

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