COUNTY CHAMPIONSHIP DIVISION ONE, Emirates Ground: CLOSE OF PLAY, DAY ONE: Durham 288, Warwickshire 7-0 Durham 2pts, Warwickshire 3pts Match scorecard
Blackwell's 86 was his fifth first-class half-century of the summer
Ian Blackwell rescued Durham with a valuable 86 as Warwickshire enjoyed the better of the opening day of the County Championship game at Chester-le-Street.
Neil Carter (3-36) struck twice early on with the new ball as the Bears reduced Durham to 71-4.
But a stand of 91 for the sixth wicket between Blackwell and captain Phil Mustard (35) proved crucial as the home side eventually eked out 288.
Warwickshire were 7-0 in reply when bad light forced a premature close.
Blackwell rode his luck on the way to his fifth first-class half-century of the summer, not only frequently playing and missing but also surviving an appeal on five when the Bears were convinced he had gloved a catch behind.
But his effort, which included 10 boundaries, proved crucial after Warwickshire made early inroads having elected to field.
Carter had Di Venuto caught behind in the third over and Mark Stoneman taken at slip, before Boyd Rankin took a brilliant diving catch running in from deep mid-wicket off Rikki Clarke to remove Gordon Muchall.
Dale Benkenstein then edged Darren Maddy behind to Tim Ambrose and when Ben Stokes was out pulling, Durham were 112-5.
Blackwell and Mustard steadied the ship, but after an Imran Tahir googly accounted for the home skipper Callum Thorp, in the side in place of the injured Liam Plunkett, Chris Rushworth and Mitch Claydon made valuable contributions to give Durham something to bowl at.
BBC Newcastle's Martin Emmerson reflects on the day one action: "Having sat out the T20 for the last month, five of the Durham team picked for this one were called back into action and they struggled.
"Michael Di Venuto, Mark Stoneman and Gordon Muchall were three of those batsmen who have not played in the T20 and they were all out in trying conditions as the ball swung around in the humidity.
"Durham were really struggling on 112-5 as Warwickshire's decision to bowl paid off. But Ian Blackwell and Phil Mustard got Durham back into the game with their partnership of 91 for the sixth wicket and that could yet prove very useful in the long-term scheme of things."
And well done to the tail. Mitch Claydon, Callum Thorp and Chris Rushworth frustrated Warwickshire as Durham added a valuable 67 for the last three wickets.
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