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Durham’s debutants shine before Glamorgan’s batsmen struggle again

Alex Lees and Axar Patel have enjoyed fine debuts for Durham.

Durham’s debutants starred with the bat before their bowlers put them on the brink of victory in their Specsavers County Championship Division Two clash at Glamorgan.

Former Yorkshire opener Alex Lees ended his first knock for his new county on 68 while India all-rounder Axar Patel smashed an unbeaten 95 as Durham posted 296 in response to the hosts’ 154.

Chris Rushworth, Barry McCarthy and Cameron Steel then each took two wickets as Glamorgan were reduced to 79 for seven, still needing another 62 to avoid an innings defeat and facing the prospect of being dismissed for under 100 for the third time in four innings.

Glamorgan also received a blow off the field as it was announced 21-year-old batsman Aneurin Donald had joined Hampshire.

On the field, Durham resumed on 75 without loss. Lees and Steel extended their partnership to 94 for the first wicket, before Steel shouldered arms to Ruaidhri Smith and was bowled off stump.

Gareth Harte was then dismissed in identical fashion before Lees was lbw to Craig Meschede.

And when Graham Clark and Michael Richardson both edged Smith to the wicketkeeper, Durham had subsided to 144 for five.

Patel has joined Durham for the final six championship games, and he followed up taking two for 10 in Glamorgan’s first innings by playing an attractive innings, with most of his 12 boundaries struck in the region between cover point and mid-off.

Stuart Poynter gave him valuable support as he contributed 29 in a seventh-wicket stand of 61, but Patel was eventually stranded five runs short of a second first-class hundred and looked crestfallen as number 11 Rushworth was bowled by Michael Hogan.

He had helped Durham gain a lead of 141, though, on a pitch which continued to help the seamers.

Glamorgan were dismissed in 49.1 overs in their first innings and were again in familiar territory, slumping to 40 for four in the 16th over.

Nick Selman was the first to go when he was strangled down the leg side by McCarthy, then Kiran Carlson and Jack Murphy fell to Rushworth.

David Lloyd became the fourth victim when he gave Poynter his third catch and McCarthy a second scalp, and when Chris Cooke nudged Patel to the wicketkeeper, half the team had gone for 54.

Connor Brown took 30 deliveries to score and eventually reached 18 from 71 balls before he fell to Steel’s occasional spin.

Steel also dismissed Andrew Salter and the game could have finished on the second evening had rain not forced play to finish 14 overs early.

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