It looked like the top three would be Keaton Jennings, Mark Stoneman and Will Smith, none of whom had nailed their colours to the red-ball mast and made themselves undroppable. Or even easy to pick. However, blessed as they were with few options, it looked like Durham were consigned to effectively starting the innings two down. Which is harsh, and inaccurate, but if you'd perused the various county previews, it seemed like gospel.
Jennings, Stoneman and Smith have played in pretty much every game this season. None of them has been as chronic as they were predicted to be; Stoneman could even be labelled as excellent, with three tons to his name that show that when he gets in he stays in. However, the batting has been re-inforced plenty beyond expectations by a surprising name at number three: that of Scott Borthwick.
Nobody predicted the second coming of Scott Borthwick.
Scott Borthwick is now undoubtedly the most improved batsmen in county cricket. In a very bowler-friendly season, he sits a handful of runs shy of 1000 for the season, with three centuries, six fifties, and countless runs at important times. He has quadrupled his tally of first-class centuries, and while his bowling is now clearly his weaker suit, it remains competent. A six-for, comfortably inside the top fifteen Div-One bowling figures for the season, proves that if needed, he can still turn his arm over with a bit of bite.
Still only 23, his England prospects might not be over yet.