COUNTY CHAMPIONSHIP DIVISION ONE, Taunton
Somerset v Durham
28 April - 1 May (Play starts 1100 BST)
CLOSE OF PLAY, DAY ONE: Durham 372-6
(Somerset 2 pts, Durham 4 pts)
Dale Benkenstein made the most of a depleted Somerset attack
Dale Benkenstein hit an unbeaten 110 as Durham made Somerset pay for putting them in on the opening day at Taunton.
Benkenstein shared a fourth-wicket stand of 166 with Gordon Muchall (68), while Michael Di Venuto (53) and Ian Blackwell (50) also claimed fifties.
Blackwell's half century came on his first return to Taunton since leaving Somerset during the winter.
But former Durham skipper Benkenstein was the star of the day, hitting 14 fours so far in his 174-ball stay.
Durham cashed in on some generous Somerset fielding after losing the toss, the home side putting down no fewer than six catches of varying difficulty.
The Somerset attack was already lacking three first choice seamers because of injury, Andy Caddick (back), Ben Phillips (back) and Mark Turner (groin) having all reported unfit.
And all those dropped chances did not help them make the most of swinging conditions and a green pitch.
The home side gave a debut to tall pace bowler David Stiff, previously with Yorkshire, Kent and Leicestershire.
But it was the reliable Charl Willoughby who made the only breakthrough of the morning after a stand of 98 in 22 overs between Di Venuto and Mark Stoneman.
Di Venuto had completed his half-century off 65 balls, with nine fours, when he edged to first slip where Justin Langer knocked the ball up for second slip Marcus Trescothick to catch it.
Somerset threw away great opportunities as Trescothick spilled two catches and wicketkeeper Craig Kieswetter three.
Arul Suppiah also failed to hold a difficult one-handed chance at point offered by Will Smith, who had two lives in making only seven.
Muchall was dropped by Kieswetter off Thomas before he had scored and it proved a costly error as he went to a half-century off 97 balls, with seven fours.
And Somerset were made to pay even more dearly when Benkenstein was twice dropped on 6 and 19 by Trescothick and Kieswetter.
By tea he and Muchall had taken the total to 228-3.
Both reached a half century in the over after the break before Muchall sliced a drive at off-spinner Omari Banks, spooning a catch to Trescothick at cover.
That brought in Blackwell, allowed to leave Somerset at the end of last season.
He received a rousing cheer from home supporters and, well used to the plumb Taunton pitches, moved confidently to 50 before driving a Peter Trego full toss to James Hildreth in the covers.