Benkenstein and Durham dominate

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Danny Briggs

Danny Briggs continues his outstanding form that began with England Lions by snaring four Durham wickets today, but the visitors had the better of proceedings in reaching 413 for six

Dale Benkenstein led the way with an immaculate century as Durham made the most of bright sunshine and an easy-paced wicket at the Rose Bowl.

Benkenstein hit 118 as the visitors reached a highly satisfactory 413 for six from 96 overs at the end of the first day against Hampshire.

Durham captain Phil Mustard had no hesitation in batting first after winning the toss and it proved a sensible choice.

Hampshire included South African newcomer Friedel de Wet plus New Zealand-qualified Johan Myburgh, and they were among seven bowlers used by skipper Dominic Cork.

Durham never looked in serious difficulty and openers Michael Di Venuto and Mark Stoneman put on 84 for the first wicket before the former became the first of four wickets for young left-arm spinner Danny Briggs. Di Venuto, on 42, drove Briggs to mid-on where Sean Ervine held the catch.

Stoneman was out two balls after reaching a half-century, bowled by Briggs for 51.

The only batsman to miss out was Ben Stokes, who scored only 10 before being third out at 121, giving fit-again Simon Jones his first wicket of the season to a catch by Cork.

Durham's impressive total was built around two century partnerships in the middle of the innings involving Benkenstein: 100 for the fourth wicket with Gordon Muchall and 136 for the fifth with Ian Blackwell.

Hampshire had no answer as Muchall dominated the fourth-wicket stand, making a rapid 62 before Cork had taken by Jimmy Adams at square-leg.

Benkenstein went on to reach the 35th first-class century of his career off 126 balls.

In the meantime, Blackwell, who, like Muchall, made 62, was bowled by the tenacious Briggs but there was no respite for the toiling Hampshire attack.

South African Benkenstein, his job done, gave Briggs his fourth wicket with a catch by Adams off an attempted sweep.

Benkenstein scored his runs from 154 balls and struck 13 fours and two sixes, including a straight drive off Briggs shortly before be brought up three figures.

Even after his departure Hampshire had no escape because Mustard and Scott Borthwick added a further 45 to take Durham through to the close.

Briggs, who took 33 wickets in the West Indies Cricket Board championship for England Lions, has taken 4-127 from 28 overs.

Former England pace bowler Jones, making another comeback from numerous injuries to his knee, had first-day figures of 1-54, while seamer de Wet conceded 64 runs in 18 wicketless overs.

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