Some resolute defensive batting from Durham’s captain Paul Collingwood and Ryan Pringle carried their Specsavers County 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. On that occasion, in 1921, they notched uo 670 for nine declared against Northants, 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 Ben Stokes and Mark Wood who have joined up with England, they also lost the services of one of their main bowlers, Graham Onions, earlier in the encounter at Hove, who suffered a back injury on the second day.
When Durham batted again, 381 in arrears, they lost Stephen Cook to the first ball of the innings, a beauty from fell South African Vernon Philander which angled into the batsman before cutting away to find the outside edge prior to 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 then joined the fluent strokemaker Michael Burgess and the pair put on 58 in 12 overs before Wiese drove the leg-spinner Steel to Pringle at mid-on.
Burgess and new batsman Philander managed to take Sussex past their previous best score against Durham – 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.