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Jack Haynes notches maiden hundred as Worcestershire battle to final-day stalemate

Jack Haynes made a hundred in Worcestershire's university warm-up PA Images via Getty Images

Worcestershire 309 (Leach 62, Barnard 55, Potts 6-62) and 262 for 3 (Haynes 120*, Azhar 92) drew with Durham 580 for 6 dec (Stokes 161, Bedingham 135, Dickson 104, Borthwick 89, Petersen 50) and 170 for 1 dec (Dickson 105, Lees 60*)

Maiden first-class hundreds can come in many guises. Players dream in their youth of hooking a great fast bowler for six on a lightning-fast pitch to the adulation of the crowd. Real life can be more prosaic. Jack Haynes got his on the flattest deck imaginable when he nicked Matthew Potts in front of third slip and the ball bounced away to the boundary. But now he has one after some painful near misses, he is a mere 21, and he looks well equipped to make more exciting ones in the future.

Haynes met his feat with a leap in the air, an embrace from his captain, Brett D'Oliveira, who was blocking down the clock at the other end at the time, and a standing ovation from the crowd.

There was a extra piquancy, beyond run-of-the-mill county loyalty, to their pleasure. Many remember his father, Gavin, who played for Worcestershire throughout the 1990s, a long-forgotten age of small scores, seaming pitches and madcap run chases. Jack also had visions of that breakthrough hundred before. He was run out for 87, backing up too far at the non-striker's end, against Warwickshire at Edgbaston last summer, and also reached 97 against Derbyshire at New Road before hitting a long hop from Matt Critchley to deep midwicket.

Ample reason therefore for him to draw considerable satisfaction from a hard-fought draw on a placid fourth-day surface that was certainly wearing but only for any neutrals watching. So will Worcestershire, considering that at one point they were 41 for 4 in response to Durham's first-innings declaration at 580 for 6. To escape from a Ben Stokes pummelling and hundreds in each innings from Sean Dickson with such assurance was professionally satisfying.

Tips for county batters to improve their concentration: connect with nature, take up meditation, reduce multi-tasking. "Bat on flat pitches," the ECB's approved solution, is yet to be added to the list, but at this rate it's only a matter of time. Haynes' mindset never wavered over six hours as he finished unbeaten on 120 from 276 balls.

Stokes bowled 30 overs in the match, 15 in each innings, and endured a wicketless game: only 20 fell over four days. His attempts to make early breakthroughs were repelled in perhaps the most intensively-contested cricket of the day. In the final throes, he fell over trying to bounce out Haynes (lying on the floor, he watched Haynes' uppercut fly to the cover boundary) and then he was stopped in his tracks by a fly in his eye, briefly bringing a tiny tremor of concern.

Worcestershire, 85 for 2 overnight, needed another 357, Durham required another eight wickets. Durham took their only wicket of the day seven minutes before tea, the first over with the new ball when Azhar Ali edged a little outswinger from Chris Rushworth to second slip, out for 92 and so missing a first hundred for Worcestershire. Haynes' century was raised in the following over. By such small margins, contentment and frustration occur.

For much of the day, the asking rate for Worcestershire to fashion an exceptional victory was only four an over. It was unlikely but not impossible. It might have been worth a look, if only for a wicket or two. But the ECB in its wisdom has allocated eight points for a draw - 50% of the total for a win - and a generation that has bought into the adventure of short-form cricket is less willing to risk what they have if the format (or the points allocation) does not force it upon them.

Durham blew what few chances they had to make earlier inroads. Haynes was missed at slip by David Bedingham when he cut the slow left-armer, Liam Trevaskis, on 61; Matt Salisbury almost had Azhar caught at gully by Bedingham on 82, a much simpler chance. Borthwick did not introduce his own legspin until the 75th over, which felt a mite defeatist until you considered that any turn or bounce would have been miraculous. Eight of Haynes' 20 boundaries came off Potts, who had licence to make things happen but who on this occasion came out second best.

Durham, highly fancied at the start of the season but still seeking their first win, only took two Leicestershire wickets last month on a final day at Chester-le-Street. It can't get any worse than that, they consoled themselves as they headed, bodies aching, to their cars. Oh, yes, it could. One hopes for their sake that the wicketless final day is not still to come.

WORCS 4th innings Partnerships

WktRunsPlayers
1st30JD LibbyEJ Pollock
2nd5Azhar AliJD Libby
3rd195Azhar AliJA Haynes
4th32BL D'OliveiraJA Haynes