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Page last updated at 17:58 GMT, Tuesday, 16 June 2009 18:58 UK

Blackwell ton gives Durham edge

COUNTY CHAMPIONSHIP DIVISION ONE, Edgbaston:
Warwickshire v Durham

16 - 19 June 2009 (Play begins 1100 BST)
CLOSE OF PLAY, DAY ONE: Durham 322-6 (Warwicks 2pts, Durham 3pts)


Ian Blackwell
Blackwell is averaging more than 50 in first-class cricket for Durham

Ian Blackwell hit an unbeaten 107 to give defending champions Durham the advantage after day one of their Championship clash with Warwickshire.

The Bears appeared to be taking a hold at Edgbaston after Chris Woakes (3-70) reduced the visitors to 120-4.

But Blackwell shared stands of 86 with Phil Mustard and 98 with Gareth Breese for the fifth and sixth wickets to turn the innings around.

Breese was out just before the close as Durham reached 322-6 at stumps.

Mark Stoneman was with Blackwell when the umpires called it a day having returned to the crease after earlier retiring hurt with a thigh strain.

But the day belonged to former Somerset all-rounder Blackwell, who built on his recent good form by first passing 50 for the fifth time in six four-day games before going on to complete his maiden Championship century for the county.

606: DEBATE
Durhamfootman

His innings helped wrestle the initiative away from the Bears after Woakes had taken 3-45 in his first two spells, trapping Will Smith, Gordon Muchall and Michael Di Venuto all leg before.

Dale Benkenstein led a charmed life and was dropped by both Neil Carter, at mid-on, and Ian Bell, at slip of Jeetan Patel.

But he failed to make the most of those let-offs and pulled a long hop from Carter straight to square leg.

Patel was already getting turn, but Mustard and Blackwell dug in to add their 86 in 25 overs either side of tea.

And although the New Zealand spinner had Mustard caught at slip, the Bears failed to make the most of their opening and saw Bell twice drop Breese off first Boyd Rankin and then Woakes.

Carter eventally removed him thanks to a brilliant diving catch on the mid-wicket boundary by Jim Troughton, but by then the damage had been done.


Centurion Ian Blackwell told BBC Radio Newcastle:

"It's nice to have got a few fifties but to go on and get a hundred in an important Championship game is very satisfying for myself.

"I was in at 120-4, with Mark Stoneman retired hurt, so it was an important passage of play for me and Phil Mustard to get through. We managed to do that and get past 300 in the end.

"We've spoken about batting for four hours or 200 balls, and that's a target I've set myself. It was nice to bat for nearly two sessions, get a century and still be there in the morning."



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