Some resolute defensive batting from Durham’s captain Paul Collingwood and Ryan Pringle has carried their championship match against Sussex into the fourth day.
That looked unlikely after they slumped to 41 for four in their second innings, still 340 behind Sussex who had piled on the runs earlier in the day, finally reaching 668 – just two runs short of their highest score at Hove, their 670 for nine declared against Northants in 1921, when Maurice Tate and Ted Bowley both scored double centuries.
This has been a difficult match for Durham. Already depleted by a number of injuries, and without their England players, they have lost the services of one of their main bowlers, Graham Onions, who suffered a back injury early in the second day. And their overseas signing Stephen Cook has yet to fire.
When Durham batted again, 381 in arrears, they lost Cook to the first ball of the innings, a beauty from fell South African Vernon Philander which angled into the batsman before cutting away off the edge to find the outside edge before flying to Chris Jordan at first slip. Then, in his third over, Philander bowled Keaton Jennings to leave Durham 11 for two.
When Jordan replaced Philander at the Cromwell Road end he had Cameron Steel caught at second slip and then dismissed Graham Clark lbw to reduce Durham to 41 for four. But then Collingwood and Pringle came together and batted out the last 35 overs of the day. Durham are still 284 runs behind, with Collingwood and Pringle unbeaten on 31 and 18 respectively.
Sussex had resumed on 452 for four and Durham broke through in the fourth over of the morning. Stiaan van Zyl had added just eight to his overnight 141 when he was bowled off-stump by Chris Rushworth.
Jordan got a leading edge and sent a simple return catch to Paul Coughlin to make it 492 for six but David Wiese now joined the fluent strokemaker Michael Burgess and the pair put on 58 in 12 overs before Wiese drove the leg-spinner Cameron Steel to Ryan Pringle at mid-on.
Burgess and new batsman Philander then took Sussex past their previous best score against Durham – their 552 for eight declared at Hove in 1996. But Burgess, looking for his maiden first-class century, was eighth out at 566 when he was bowled playing forward to Pringle for 76.
But Sussex bat deep and after the dismissal of Burgess, Jofra Archer took on the run-scoring responsibilities, making 70 from 68 balls, with six fours and five sixes, as Sussex built their mammoth score.