Luke Wells gives Sussex scent of win at Durham

LV County Championship Division One, Emirates Durham ICG
Close, day three: Durham 292 & 210, Sussex 194 & 237-4
Durham 5pts, Sussex 3pts
Match scorecard
Live commentary
LV County Championship

An unbeaten 74 from Luke Wells put Sussex in sight of an unlikely victory over Durham at Chester-le-Street.

After resuming day three on 166-5, the hosts could only muster 44 more as Rana Naved-ul-Hasan (4-43) and Monty Panesar (3-46) shared the final five wickets.

Callum Thorp took two wickets in successive balls to leave Sussex 98-3 chasing 309 to win.

But Wells shared an unbroken 88 with Ben Brown (39 not out) to take them to 237-4 at stumps, 72 short of victory.

It is the highest score of Wells' short career, beating the 62 he made on debut against Worcestershire last season.

Durham had begun the day with a lead of 166 but lost their final five wickets in the first hour.

Wicketkeeper Michael Richardson was trapped lbw to the first ball of the day, bowled by Rana, who then had Scott Borthwick caught at mid-on before bowling Thorp with a slower ball.

Panesar than wrapped up the innings by bowling both Dale Benkenstein, 38 not out overnight, the ball after he completed 50 off 65 balls, and then Mitch Claydon.

Sussex openers Ed Joyce and Chris Nash put on 58 in relative comfort until Ian Blackwell made the breakthrough by having Joyce caught at silly mid-off by Gordon Muchall.

Nash and Wells, son of former Sussex captain Alan Wells, added another 40 before Thorp took centre stage with his double breakthrough.

Nash went for 45 when he played defensively and the ball trickled back on to his stumps, and then next ball Joe Gatting edged to Muchall at slip.

Muchall also caught Goodwin to claim his fifth catch of the match, but he also put down a sharp chance offered by Wells on 49.


BBC Newcastle's Martin Emmerson:

"Durham's sloppy finale to their second innings could prove the major difference in this one.

"And some of the shot selection gave the impression they may have thought they already had enough runs on the board as well. However, stand-in skipper Dale Benkenstein insists they finished well short of where they planned to and that could well prove to be the case.

"Sussex always had time on their hands to grind away at the score and grind they did. It was laborious at times as they tootled along at less than three an over all afternoon. But if they keep their nerve and win the game then that won't matter. An early couple of wickets on a lively track could make for an interesting final day though."

BBC Sussex's Steve Shepherd:

"With the energy going their way, Sussex - if they can hold their nerve - will claim a famous victory here at the Riverside. The game is in their own hands, however they must be watchful of the early conditions in the morning - these sessions have been a hot bed for wickets falling.

"Coach Mark Robinson and Sussex fans will continue to bite nails to the quick, as they watch the deficit slowly trickle down on the scoreboard.

"The real bonus for the visitors is that the weather is set fair and they have all the time into the world to make this one of the most amazing victories in their first season back in the top flight."