Northamptonshire had the best of day one of their Specsavers County Championship contest against Durham, taking a 60-run lead into day two at the Riverside.
Luke Procter starred with the ball for the visitors, claiming figures of 5-33 to put his side in command. Ben Sanderson and Brett Hutton were also on point to bowl Durham out for 129.
In response Northants battled their way beyond the home side’s first-innings total. Captain Alex Wakely was dropped twice early in his knock and he made the north-east outfit pay, scoring a brisk half-century, while Adam Rossington marked his return to first team action by notching 47 to leave them on top after the first day.
The toss was uncontested as the visitors opted to send Durham into bat. Their decision proved to be the correct one as Sanderson made immediate inroads to send Cameron Steel and Gareth Harte back to the pavilion. Hutton produced an accurate spell of bowling to keep the pressure on and was rewarded when he pinned Graham Clark lbw for three.
Alex Lees attempted to combat the moving ball with an aggressive approach after seeing off Sanderson and Hutton, before a straight delivery from Procter halted his innings at 25. Axar Patel scored 95 on his Durham debut, but there was to be no repeat performance as he was bowled by Procter. Richardson continued the procession edging a Sanderson delivery on to his own stumps.
Paul Collingwood and Stuart Poynter offered resistance, but that came to an end when the Durham skipper was out on the stroke of lunch to Procter. The tail was wrapped up fairly quickly by Procter and Sanderson after the interval, with Poynter falling for 28 as the home side crumbled to 129 all out inside 40 overs.
Northamptonshire made a steady start as Procter opened the innings with Ben Curran, the youngster becoming the 515th Northamptonshire player with his first class debut. The all-rounder made 21 before Matt Salisbury pinned him LBW, while Curran lofted a shot straight to Steel at mid-wicket off Rushworth.
The dismissal of Curran brought Wakely to the crease. He edged his first ball to Michael Richardson at third slip, but he failed to take the catch. The second ball was almost identical, although this time Lees dropped the chance in the slip cordon.
Although Salisbury notched the scalp of Ricardo Vasconcelos and Richard Levi edged a Barry McCarthy delivery to Poynter, Wakely used his fortune to take the attack to the home side. He crashed 10 boundaries to put Northants ahead of Durham’s first-innings score, reaching his 50 off 70 deliveries in the process.
Patel produced a good delivery to remove the visitors’ skipper for 60, but Rossington kept Northamptonshire on course for a significant first-innings lead, despite the late wicket of Saif Zaib.