Trent Bridge almost saw history re-written as Durham’s Graham Onions claimed nine Nottinghamshire wickets on the second day of the LV= County Championship match.
In 174 years of first class cricket no-one has ever achieved all ten wickets in an innings - but Onions, with 9-67, has a claim on the record as he was responsible for the other wicket to fall, running out Luke Fletcher with a direct hit.
Onions had begun the day at Lord’s before being released from the Test team to face South Africa. As a nominated substitute he was permitted to drive north, just in time to have a bowl.
“I had no lunch – and I’ve had no tea – but to take nine wickets is fantastic." - Graham Onions
“When I knew I wasn’t playing at Lord’s I just got in my car and came up here,” he said, adding. “I had no lunch – and I’ve had no tea – but to take nine wickets is fantastic.
“It’s a special day for myself and, most importantly, for Durham. I bowled well last week but got my rewards today. A few went along the ground but you take wickets anyway you can get them.”
Onions’ performance over-shadowed a fine start to the day which saw Notts reduce the visitors to 123-8 at one stage, with Luke Fletcher collecting the wicket of Paul Collingwood to add to the two he got on the first day.
Fletcher praised the performance of a fellow new-ball bowler. “Obviously Graham Onions is a quality bowler. I’ve never seen anything like that before in my life and might never see it again. He was incredible but unfortunately we ended up on the wrong end of it.
“It’s going to be a big first session tomorrow – we need plenty of early Durham wickets to keep ourselves in the game.”
Sixteen wickets fell during the day, with Durham bowled out for 194. Fletcher, Ben Phillips and Andy Carter all collected three of the wickets to fall.
Notts, undone by Onions, made 154 in reply, with the visitors then reaching 27-0 in their second innings.
Before the start of play news filtered through of the England XI selected for the Lord’s Test v South Africa. Nottinghamshire’s trio, James Taylor, Graeme Swann and Stuart Broad were all included but the omission of Durham’s Graham Onions meant that he was allowed to travel north to take the place of Mitch Claydon for the remainder of this match.
Onions had time to make his way up the motorway as the two overnight batsmen, Dale Benkenstein and Paul Collingwood began with elegant boundaries against the pairing of Phillips and Fletcher.
As on the previous morning, it was the eighth over of the day that delivered a wicket. Collingwood (21), having punched Fletcher to the cover boundary, then tried a repeat and saw the ball fly down to the unprotected third man fence.
When he attempted another drive off the same bowler he only found the safe hands of Michael Lumb in the gully.
Having observed from the other end, it was then surprising that Benkenstein (26) made the same mistake. He went hard at a delivery from Phillips and was taken by the safe hands of Adam Voges at second slip.
The aggressive approach was clearly the visitor’s plan for the day but it seemed to backfire as three more wickets fell in quick fashion.
Carter began the 48th over of the innings with a big wide, the first extra of the match. His next ball was tempting enough for Scott Borthwick (6) to guide it straight to Riki Wessels at point.
Callum Thorp (1) drove Phillips to Carter in the covers, to leave the innings in tatters on 123-8.
From then on, a spectacular recovery was staged by the lower order. Mitch Claydon, batting as Onions hadn’t yet arrived, made 17 before slashing Carter to a diving Wessels.
Mark Wood and Chris Rushworth then combined to frustrate Notts for 53 minutes. When the two sides met at Chester-le-Street in April, the Durham tenth wicket pair (Onions and Claydon) added 73, the highest stand of the second innings.
This time Wood (34) and Rushworth (24 not out) compiled 50 together to frustrate Notts – and the watching audience - as the luncheon interval became delayed.
Rushworth swept Graeme White away for the first maximum of the innings before, approaching 1.30pm, Notts appealed for a caught behind but, after a deliberation from the umpires, Wood was given not out.
The next ball, from Graeme White, did find the edge and Read completed the catch to end the innings.
Onions arrived during the lunch interval and changed quickly to warm-up. His presence shifted the match considerably during an opening nine-over burst, which saw him claim figures of 5-49.
Alex Hales (0) was lbw second ball, to one which kept a touch low. Michael Lumb (12) went the same way and Adam Voges (9) lost his off stump to another which didn’t bounce much.
Wessels (22) again looked composed at the crease but didn’t go on to a substantial score, due to another Onions shooter, which rattled into his off peg. That made it 50-4 and it was 50-5 one ball later as Read (0) fended one through to Phil Mustard.
Paul Franks survived the hat-trick delivery and helped Steven Mullaney survive through the second half of the afternoon, as they combined in a stand of 63.
The only moment of real alarm came when Franks pushed straight to Will Smith and called his partner through for a non-existent run. Mullaney would have been well-short if the former Notts man had hit from cover.
Immediately after tea the return of Onions broke the stand, with Mullaney (23) perhaps unluckily the latest to be given out lbw.
Franks (53) reached a splendid half-century, before falling the same way, as Onions collected his seventh.
Graeme White (13) edged the seamer to Collingwood at slip, to bring the ten-for ever closer but it was Onions himself who ended the dream.
Fletcher dropped the ball down on the legside and was called through for a quick run by Phillips (17 not out). Quickly in from point, Onions picked up and knocked down the stumps at the far end with Fletcher (0) short of his ground.
The 29-year old celebrated his success as enthusiastically as any of his previous wickets and finished the innings off by uprooting Andy Carter’s middle stump (0).
Trent Bridge gave Onions a fitting ovation to commemorate a stunning bowling performance – 16.3-2.67-9, the sixth best of all-time against Notts at Trent Bridge.