Mustard warms to the task
An unusually restrained half-century by Phil Mustard strengthened Durham’s grip on the second day of their LV= County Championship match against Sussex at the Emirates Durham ICG.
When the stroke-playing wicketkeeper headed to the crease, 12 wickets had fallen in 49 overs.
Yet only one went down in the remaining 45 as Durham – who will move top of Division One with a victory – closed on 212 for six, leading by 345.
Mustard spent 136 balls compiling his unbeaten 57 and put on 93 in 36 overs for the sixth wicket with Paul Collingwood as they used their experience to prove the pitch was no minefield.
The contest in the first half of the day was short of the quality expected between the second and third teams in the division, but both are depleted.
Sussex’s batting looked fragile and, having lost Luke Wells early on after resuming on 60 for three, they crashed to 112 all out.
Usman Arshad, playing his second first-class match, took 3-16 with his brisk medium pace and later opened up with a straight six off Chris Nash on his way to 16 not out.
Graham Onions took the day’s first two wickets to finish with 4-50, starting when left-hander Wells drove well wide of off stump and edged to Mustard.
Rory Hamilton-Brown struck the first ball he faced for a straight four, only to then edge an away swinger behind.
Nightwatchman James Anyon resisted well to make 19 before fending a return catch to Mitchell Claydon and wicketkeeper Ben Brown remained unbeaten on 21.
Harry Finch, the 18-year-old debutant, scored 11 but fell lbw to Arshad, who also had Will Beer and Steve Magoffin caught behind for ducks. Claydon bowled last man Lewis Hatchett to finish with 3-25.
Durham led by 133 and, after his 96 in the first innings, Mark Stoneman again started fluently.
Having reached 21, he was pinned in front by an Anyon delivery that kept low – a wicket that prompted a collpase as the rest of Durham’s top five all edged behind the wicket.
However, Collingwood and Mustard saw off the dangerous Magoffin and prospered thereafter.
The former would eventually depart lbw to Nash for 45, but not before helping put Durham in complete control.
With rain forecast on Friday, Durham will be keen to wrap up their eighth win of the campaign on day three.