ESSEX fought back with the ball after collapsing to 182 all out against Durham as the returning crowds at the Emirates Riverside saw 16 wickets fall on day one of the County Championship clash.

The Essex innings had looked in a strong place following Michael Pepper’s maiden first-class fifty but the loss of five wickets for just three runs appeared to give Durham the upper hand.

However, Essex came back strongly as their bowling trio of Peter Siddle, Sam Cook and Jamie Porter all made in-roads to leave Durham struggling on 58 for six at the close, still trailing by 124.

Watched by crowds at the Riverside for the first time in 611 days, Scott Borthwick won the toss for Durham and chose to send Essex into bat and was rewarded as the in-form Chris Rushworth struck to remove Alastair Cook for just two.

Nick Browne soon followed his opening partner back to the pavilion as he was bowled for 23 looking to drive Matthew Potts down the ground.

Tom Westley was the next man to go, the Essex skipper perhaps harshly given lbw off the bowling of Ben Raine for a 21-ball duck.

The Essex innings was steadied however by Pepper and Paul Walter, the pair adding fifty together to take their side to lunch.

After the break Walter was bowled by Raine for 28, the Durham bowler nipping one back through the gate.

Ryan ten Doeschate had made only eight before he was sent on his way, lbw to Borthwick attempting to paddle the ball round the corner.

That dismissal left Essex on 139 for five but they looked to have regrouped with Pepper helping to guide them to 179 without any further loss before the visitors suffered a dramatic collapse.

It began when Pepper was removed after Rushworth re-entered the attack and pinned him leg before on 92, just short of a maiden hundred.

The wickets then fell quickly. Raine (four for 45) dismissed Simon Harmer for one before Rushworth (four for 32) had Adam Wheater caught by Ned Eckersley for eight.

Durham’s all-time record first-class wicket-taker then claimed another victim when he removed Sam Cook for a duck.

Raine wrapped up the Essex innings, splitting Siddle’s stumps for one to leave the visitors all out for 182 at tea.

Durham’s innings got off to a stuttering start as Porter claimed the wicket of Alex Lees for a duck, which was followed by the departure of captain Borthwick, stuck leg before by Sam Cook for eight.

Siddle trapped fellow Australian Cameron Bancroft lbw for 20 and Michael Jones could only add four before he left a straight ball from Sam Cook (three for 20).

It went from bad to worse for Durham as Jack Burnham fell victim to Siddle for two before David Bedingham fell to the final ball of the day, bowled by Sam Cook for 10.