Coughlin may be out for rest of season
IF Durham beat Derbyshire on Friday they will have to do so a bowler light after Paul Coughlin picked up an injury which could rule him out for the rest of the season, but coach Jon Lewis is confident they can. It is now an if. The odds are in the Riversiders’ favour but they would have arrived for day three hoping to wrap things up only to end it just 11 runs ahead, with four wickets still to take.
Following-on, Derbyshire massively improved on their firstinnings 164 all out with 305-6 as the pitch made both sides work hard.
Coughlin’s work is over having strained his side after four overs on Tuesday.
“I think Nigel (Kent, Durham’s physio)’s words were, ‘It’s about as good as we could have hoped for,’” said coach Lewis.
“But a comeback from a side strain takes quite a bit of time because you need to build up your bowling again. Whether there’s enough time in the season for that to happen is touch and go. Hopefully.”
Durham have three matches left after this one.
Coughlin’s longer-term future is in doubt too with Nottinghamshire, Warwickshire and Hampshire exploiting a clause in his contract to put in 28 days’ notice on the all-rounder.
Durham’s Twenty20 captain could have earned more money by going elsewhere when he signed his previous deal – with a release clause if the club were in County Championship Division Two.
Sunderland-born Coughlin made 68 in a partnership with Paul Collingwood which was important to Durham’s 480-9 declared, and had been in good form with the ball too.
“He’s been batting well and bowling really quite sharply,” said Lewis. “With the end of the T20s his mind is cleared to play his cricket and I think that’s helped clarify a few things.”
Even without Coughlin – and substitutes are unable to bowl or bat – Durham had no hesitation in asking Derbyshire to bat again. They used six bowlers on Wednesday, each taking a wicket.
“Because we finished the first inning overnight that gave us a much more realistic chance of going again,” said Lewis.
“We hoped with a nice rest that would be enough. It was a tough day for them, very much a working day.”