Sun, 08 Dec 2019

Brilliant performances from Chris Rushworth and Cameron Steel led Durham's fightback on day two of their Division Two clash against Sussex at the Riverside.

After being bowled out for 103, Rushworth was outstanding dragging the home side back into the contest by claiming figures of 8 for 51. Sussex failed to capitalise on their solid bowling performance, after Ollie Robinson notched his third five-wicket haul on the bounce, boasting only a lead of 19.

Steel and Alex Lees formed a solid partnership at the top of the innings in response. Steel held his composure to reach three figures for the first time this term, becoming his county's fifth centurion of the season. At the close of play the hosts held a 201-run advantage over Sussex with six wickets remaining in their second innings.

Durham began the day 92 for 7 in need of an effort from the tail to guide them to a competitive first-innings' score. However, Robinson was able to strike three times, removing Stuart Poynter, Matt Salisbury and Nathan Rimmington, claiming a five-wicket haul and dismissing the hosts for 103. Sussex were immediately pegged back in their response as Tom Haines edged a Rushworth delivery to third slip in the first over. Phil Salt and Luke Wells attempted to see off the new ball and made steady progress before both players were dismissed in back-to-back deliveries as Rushworth and Salisbury struck.

Rushworth then took command of proceedings from the Lumley End. His subtle variations in pace and movement have him a great deal of success during his career and he notched his 400th first-class wicket for Durham by bowling Harry Finch for 12 with a fine delivery. The dismissal opened the floodgates to bring the home side back into the contest. Ben Brown and Michael Burgess fell to the seamer, claiming the 21st five-wicket haul.

A brilliant catch by Will Smith at gully sent Chris Jordan on his way, while Jofra Archer lasted only a solitary delivery when he was cleaned up by Rushworth. Robinson handed him his eighth wicket, although Poynter and Paul Collingwood had to combine to take the catch behind the stumps.

Another scalp would have seen Rushworth claim his career-best figures, but Salisbury ended the innings by trapping David Wiese in front of the stumps, bowling out the visitors for 122 and a lead of 19.

Durham capitalised on their momentum to eradicate the deficit without loss as Cameron Steel and Alex Lees built a solid partnership. The duo put on 72 for the first wicket before Lees was given out caught behind on 43 off the bowling of Robinson. Archer then accounted for the scalp of Smith to apply pressure.

Steel held firm at the other end, reaching his fifty off 78 deliveries with a boundary down to fine leg. Graham Clark struck three boundaries early in his knock, but was pinned lbw by Archer for 21.

Steel continued his impressive knock, making his runs at a good pace to break into the nineties. He was given a life on 95 when he top edged a delivery from Jordan, but Salt running back slipped as he attempted to make the catch.

He made his first century of the campaign, reaching the milestone with a boundary through the covers off his 158th delivery. The partnership between Steel and Richardson was ended on 55 as the former was removed by Robinson. However, Steel remained unbeaten at the close alongside Axar Patel his side well poised on 220 for 4, 201 runs ahead of the visitors.

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