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Paul Collingwood saluted a job well done as Durham opened their LV= County Championship Division One campaign with a 48-run triumph over Somerset.
The visitors appeared to be well set for a victory charge on the fourth and final day at Emirates Durham ICG, resuming on 96 for two in pursuit of 235.
However, despite the best efforts of Craig Kieswetter, who compiled an excellent 72, they capitulated to 186 all out as Durham’s seam quartet ran riot.
Former England all-rounder Collingwood was delighted his side continued the momentum they ended the 2012 campaign with.
“We finished last season off very well but it’s important to get off this season well with the amount of games in the first month-and-a-half. We want to get that confidence,” the Durham skipper said.
“All the things you do through the winter which you can’t really gain from on the mental side until you win.
“I take my hats off to the boys for the way they’ve come out and competed in this match. With the pre-season we’ve had, only spending a week on grass surfaces, to come out and still have the belief in your skills, to stick to your basics and plans to beat what I think is a very good Somerset side, I think it’s been an exceptional performance.”
Durham’s first-innings 250 – the highest score of the match – after losing the toss laid the platform for victory according to Collingwood, who has also backed his players to keep improving with the bat.
“That set the game up. Getting 250 here is a good score, especially early season,” the 36-year-old added.
“We nearly batted the full day, which we haven’t done for a long time. It’s something we’re trying harder and harder to do. But Somerset fought back hard to bowl us out for what they did (in the second innings), it put us back under pressure.
“I just liked the way the guys stuck to their plans. Craig Kieswetter played superbly well and at one point you thought Somerset were going to do it but if you consistently do the right things and put the opposition under pressure you’re going to create chances.
“If you’ve got a strategy that works and a belief that goes behind it and into the preparation, getting things right, you want results.
“Usually these things take a long time to develop until you win out in the middle but I have to say the guys have responded really well but the motto of our team is we want to be really hard to beat, no matter who we’re playing against or what the conditions are.
“I have to say everyone has dug in really well and applied themselves to what we believe.”
One negative to come from Durham’s opening-round success was the ankle injury sustained by Will Smith, which could hamper their plans for next week’s trip to champions Warwickshire.
“He went over on his ankle on a sprinkler at midwicket,” Collingwood explained.
“It’s blown up quite badly and it’s quite bruised as well. I’m sure we’ll see how he responds. It’s pretty sore.
“I don’t know whether he’s in doubt (for Warwickshire) but he hasn’t been able to field for the last few days and it’s pretty much back-to-back games. We’ll have to wait and see.”
Somerset captain Marcus Trescothick was understandably disappointed to taste defeat in the north east after starting the final day in a promising position.
He said: “I thought we had a very good chance of winning the game; we were in position to try and chase it down.
“I think today the ball swung a bit more; we nicked it early on and they got the wickets in the first hour they needed. They put us under pressure and made it quite tough.”
Kieswetter underlined his credentials as a number-three batsman with a half-century in his second knock, leading to praise from both Trescothick and Collingwood.
“We expected the wicket to do a little bit so Craig getting 70-odd – the highest score of the match by quite a big margin is great,” Trescothick said.
“He has obviously stepped up to number three, which is good, and done a good job in both.”
And Collingwood added: “He was superb. He put us under a lot pressure because of his judgement. His technique was very good and the guys bowled really well at him. I thought his application was superb.”
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