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Page last updated at 18:37 GMT, Thursday, 9 April 2009 19:37 UK

Blackwell shines in season opener

MCC v Durham 244-4 (day one)
Match scorecard

Michael Vaughan
Vaughan will be hoping to impress if he gets a chance to bat on Friday

A late assault from debutant Ian Blackwell put county champions Durham in charge of their traditional curtain-raiser against MCC at Lord's.

MCC, boasting the likes of captain Rob Key, Michael Vaughan and Ian Bell, won the toss and opted to field first.

But Michael di Venuto and Mark Stoneman put on a century opening stand, with Sajid Mahmood particularly expensive.

The impressive Tim Bresnan removed both, but Blackwell fired 63 off 61 balls to lead Durham to 244-4 at close.

It was an aggressive assault from the all-rounder, signed, from Somerset, and it ensured England hopefuls Vaughan, Key and Bell will have to wait until at least Friday to push their hopes of an international recall.


The trio have all been named in England's 25-man Performance squad for this summer's international season and, with the number three batting spot in Tests in particular up for grabs, will hope a good start to the season with their counties could see them selected ahead of - and for - the Ashes series against Australia.

Thursday, though, saw another player hopeful of an England recall - paceman Mahmood - suffer, the Lancashire star's 13 overs going for 49, though he did have Dale Benkenstein caught late in the day.

Blackwell, meanwhile, was ably supported by a patient knock of 43 off 141 balls from Will Smith, as the pair added 103 quick runs to leave last year's county champions Durham well placed despite 18 overs being lost to rain in the day.

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see also
MCC v Durham photos
09 Apr 09 |  Counties
Vaughan misses out on tour place
29 Dec 08 |  England
Vaughan handed England contract
09 Sep 08 |  England
Khan & Bell star in England draw
23 Feb 09 |  England

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