Durham secure Division Two title despite D'Oliveira resistance

Bas de Leede struck twice in as many overs Getty Images

Durham 10 for 0 trail Worcestershire 313 (D'Oliveria 63, Libby 57) by 303 runs

Durham clinched the LV=Insurance County Championship Division Two title after bowling out Worcestershire shortly before the close of a rain-affected third day at New Road.

Promotion had been secured for Durham last week without bowling a ball when Leicestershire failed to secure a batting point against Sussex at Hove.

They required a maximum of five points heading into this game to clinch top spot. The three secured for dismissing Worcestershire for 313, plus the ones dropped by the home side for batting, ensured they finished in pole position.

Durham will be back in Division One for the first time since 2016 when they were relegated over financial issues. Scott Borthwick was a member of that Durham side and fittingly is now the captain on their return to the top flight.

It has been a superb team effort and they have provided the division's leading run-scorer in Alex Lees (1284) and top wicket-taker in Ben Raine (54). Raine and Bas de Leede both picked up three wickets while Worcestershire club captain Brett D'Oliveira provided the sternest resistance.

His efforts helped claim two precious batting points in the battle for the second promotion spot.

Many home supporters also had an eye on events at the Uptonsteel County Ground as nearest rivals Leicestershire strengthened their grip against Yorkshire. But the fate of Worcestershire remains in their own hands and their prime objective now will be to collect as many bowling bonus points as possible.

They resumed their first innings on 104 for 1 after a second day washout and Jake Libby cover drove the fifth ball of the day from Vishwa Fernando for four to complete an 85-ball half-century. But on 57 the opener was undone by a delivery from Raine which nipped away and caught behind by Ollie Robinson.

Azhar Ali collected three boundaries in quick succession off Raine while new batter Jack Haynes looked in good nick and raced to 35 off 47 balls with six boundaries. But the momentum switched in Durham's favour as Paul Coughlin struck in successive overs and also bowled the delivery which led to Adam Hose retiring injured.

Haynes was undone by a delivery angled back in and lost his off stump and then Azhar gave his wicket away in tame fashion when he slapped a delivery straight to cover. In between Hose was struck on the left wrist by Coughlin and was replaced in the middle by Kashif Ali.

Immediately after Azhar's dismissal, rain drove the players from the field for a three-and-a-quarter hour break.

Kashif and new batter D'Oliveira scored freely against Raine and Coughlin during the evening session. D'Oliveira cover drove Coughlin to the ropes and then steered him down to third man to bring up the 200 in the 54th over.

The partnership was worth 69 in 14 overs when Kashif nicked Bas de Leede to first slip and he then trapped fellow Netherlands international Logan van Beek lbw. But D'Oliveira continued to score freely and brought up his half-century from 58 balls with seven fours.

He had made 63 off 75 balls when bowled by a fine delivery from Matt Parkinson which spun sharply. Raine wrapped up the innings by dismissing Ben Allison and Dillon Pennington in the space of four balls to cue the start of the celebrations amongst the Durham players.

Openers Lees and Michael Jones survived four overs before bad light halted play with three overs remaining.