Durham secured their fourth victory of the Specsavers County Championship Division Two season, hammering Sussex by 186 runs at Emirates Riverside thanks to a fine performance with the ball by Chris Rushworth.
They appeared to be in trouble after their first innings after being bowled out for 103. However, Rushworth dug his team out of trouble with an outstanding spell of 8 for 51 before a brilliant hundred from Cameron Steel put Durham in command on day two.
They never looked back. Sussex, set a daunting chase of 322, never raised a threat as Rushworth dominated with the ball, claiming another four wickets to take his tally to 12 for the match. India left-arm spinner Axar Patel wrapped up the tail on his final match for Durham, allowing the home side to ease to the victory.
Sussex now head for the Blast Finals Day at Edgbaston with their Championship promotion hopes looking much tattier than they did a few days ago. They now trail second-placed Kent by 21 points and must now beat Warwickshire, the leaders, at Hove next week to stay in the hunt. Jason Gillespie, their coach, faces a tough task to regain the momentum at Hove next week.
It was a far cry from their triumph on the same ground last month when they beat Durham in the Blast quarter-finals.
Durham began the day 201 runs ahead of the visitors, although they lost Patel almost immediately as he played a loose shot against Danny Briggs that landed in the grasp of David Wiese. Steel maintained his form, notching his highest score at Emirates Riverside on his way to 150.
He produced a stand with Paul Collingwood to edge Durham's lead towards the 300-run mark, although Steel was to fall to Tom Haines for 160, becoming the 19-year-old's maiden first-class wicket. The home side collapsed after lunch losing their final four wickets for four runs to be bowled out for 340, despite a season-best knock from Collingwood of 47.
Sussex lost Phil Salt in the first over of their reply, chasing down 322 for the win. Rushworth burst through his defences to clean bowl the opener for a duck, while Matt Salisbury notched the scalp of Luke Wells in his first over. Harry Finch came and went leaving a straight delivery from Rushworth (two disastrous leaves in the match), which reduced the visitors to 11 for 3 and allowed the seamer to claim his 10th wicket of the match.
Haines and Michael Burgess battled for a while. However, Rushworth's persistence paid off as he bowled Burgess for 22 before trapping Haines lbw for 40. The home side seized the initiative to close in on the victory as Patel removed Ben Brown, while Salisbury claimed his second wicket of the innings tearing one through the gate of David Wiese.
Jofra Archer endured a miserable time at the crease at Chester-le-Street. He was bowled for a golden duck in the first innings, while his second attempt proved to be just as unsuccessful - a pair as he was run out before he got off the mark by Michael Richardson after surviving an lbw shout. Patel pinned Chris Jordan lbw before Ollie Robinson clipped the left-arm spinner straight to Steel to allow the home side to secure the win by a comfortable margin.