Plunkett stars in two disciplines

Lv County Championship

Liam Plunkett

Liam Plunkett wrecked Sussex's top order after being stranded six short of a maiden first-class hundred

On the day Durham team-mate Graham Onions was making a spectacular entry into Test cricket, Liam Plunkett offered a reminder of his ability with a starring role for the LV= County Champions at Hove.

Plunkett, 24, who played the last of his nine Tests two years ago, followed a career-best 94 not out by wrecking Sussex's top order with three wickets in 17 balls in the Division One match.

Replying to Durham's 380, Sussex slumped from 81 without loss to 109 for five as Plunkett uprooted Chris Nash's off stump for 40 and had Murray Goodwin and Rory Hamilton-Brown caught behind for nought.

With Mitchell Claydon picking up skipper Michael Yardy and then Ed Joyce, Durham were in a strong position to enforce the follow-on, but Sussex were revived by a sixth-wicket stand of 150 in 38 overs between Luke Wright and Andrew Hodd.

Wright struck nine fours in his 67 before he was caught at square-leg off a slog-sweep at Ian Blackwell, but Hodd closed on 84 not out - his highest score for two years - with Sussex 269 for six.

This was Plunkett's day, however, and the only disappointment was that Durham's tailenders did not hang around long enough to enable him to complete his maiden first-class hundred.

Resuming on 318 for seven, he helped Callum Thorp add 59 in 18 overs for the eighth wicket, Plunkett's only moment of alarm coming when he offered no shot to Ollie Rayner and was fortunate to survive the off-spinner's lbw appeal.

With Damien Wright only able to bowl 17 balls before going off with a side injury, Sussex's attack lacked penetration, but eventually Rayner made the breakthrough when Thorp holed out to deep mid-on for 29.

Wright soon uprooted Claydon's off stump and Plunkett was only able to add three more runs before last man Steve Harmison was caught behind pushing forward to Rayner, leaving Plunkett with the consolation of a career-best score, made off 184 balls with eight fours.

Sussex openers Nash and Yardy made a positive start to the reply and Yardy lodged his first half-century of the season, from 91 balls with six fours, but by then Sussex had collapsed as Plunkett found some seam movement to run through their top order.

Joyce gloved the ball down the leg side to give Claydon the first of two wickets and he showed his liking for left-handers by bowling Yardy with a ball of fullish length as Sussex lost five wickets for 28 in seven overs.

At 109 for five the follow-on target looked some way off but Wright and Hodd survived a ferocious burst from Harmison to take the attack back to Durham after tea.

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