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24th March 2010

Durham CCC v Sussex CCC – Match Report

Mitchell Claydon took a wicket with his first ball of the day to finish the pick of the county’s attack with two for 20 from eight, tight overs, while Gareth Breese chipped in with two for 32 as Sussex succumbed with 11 balls to spare. 

Responding to Durham’s total of 224 for six Sussex, fresh from their Tuesday night defeat to the Emerging Cape Cobras, made a poor start losing two wickets in the opening over from the bustling Mitchell Claydon. 

To the very first ball of the innings Michael Thornely, on the back foot, pushed away from his body to edge to debutant wicketkeeper Michael Richardson, who threw the ball high in celebration after claiming a catch from his first ball behind the stumps.

To the last ball of the first over Joe Gatting (1) chanced his luck by attempting a second run following an overthrow to mid-off but Will Smith’s sharp recovery and throw to the strikers’ end sent Gatting packing run out.

Smith was celebrating again five overs later when Ben Brown pushed one from Will Gidman toward mid-off and set off for a sharp run but this time Smith hit the non-striker’s end stumps direct to run Brown out for 16.

The Sharks partially re-grouped with a fourth wicket stand worth 52 in 11 overs between skipper Michael Yardy and Ragheb Aga, but the introduction of leg-spinner Scott Borthwick ended Yardy’s 49-ball stay for 37 runs when he missed an attempted dab to third man to lose his off stump.

In the very next over Aga followed his captain back to the pavilion after top edging an attempted reverse paddle straight to  Michael di Venuto at short third man to give Gareth Breese his first scalp of the tour and make it 77 for five.

The Sussex plight became considerably worse when Robin Martin-Jenkins (14) misjudged the flight against Breese to gift a stumping chance that Richardson accepted after needing a second grab at the ball.       

Sussex made one last dart at ending their trip on a high note as Andrew Hodd and Ollie Rayner added 55 for the seventh wicket before Hodd tossed away his wicket five balls into the powerplay by chipping a catch to deep square leg.

Their brief rally petered out thereafter as Chad Keegan (15) chipped to cow corner and gifted his wicket to Will Gidman as the last three Sussex wickets tumbled for 11 runs.  

Durham’s innings, after winning the toss, was anchored by the experienced duo of Michael di Venuto and Dale Benkenstein who both cashed in on a good wicket with half-centuries.

Dynamos made a good start through left-handed openers di Venuto and Mark Stoneman who added 72 for the first wicket with Stoneman contributing 43. The 22-year-old from Newcastle might have gone with one against his name when his attempted drive against James Kirtley flew to slip only for Ollie Rayner to down a dipping chance.

Twice more Stoneman almost went when he nearly chopped on to his own stumps, but he slog-swept Rayner for six and twice drove deliveries from Robin Martin-Jenkins through the covers for four. Martin-Jenkins had his revenge in the 16th over when he leant back aiming to force through the off-side once more only to pick out Kirtley at cover.

Di Venuto then teamed up with Benkenstein to take Durham into three figures in the 20th over and in doing so the Australian posted his own half-century from 52 balls and with six fours. The applause for his 50 had barely stopped when di Venuto chipped the next ball from Ragheb Aga into the hands of Rayner at long off.     

Benkenstein took up from where di Venuto had left off, as he and captain Will Smith combined forces to add 72 attractive runs inside 11 overs for the third wicket. Seemingly untroubled, the pair looked set to fill their boots as Benkenstein rocked back to pull a short one from Kirtley for six. The former England seamer had his revenge three balls later, however, by bowling Smith for 31.

Durham’s 200 came up in the 34th over but soon after Benkenstein, in trying to force the pace against Chad Keegan, the right-handers attempted straight drive came off the bottom of the bat and miscued to Joe Gatting at mid-on to go for a top-scoring 61 from 48 balls with six fours to go with his six.

Gareth Breese (14) and Kyle Coetzer (10) also fell before the close of innings, to give Keegan flattering figures of three for 26, after the pair tried and failed to up the run rate in the closing five overs. In only his second appearance for Sussex, former England spinner Monty Panesar finished wicket-less from a six-over stint that cost 38 runs.

Having seen Durham post 224 for six at an asking rate of 5.63 an over, it all proved too much for Sussex who ended their tour with three consecutive defeats.

Durham 224 for six (40 overs) (di Venuto 51, Benkenstein 61, Keegan three for 26) beat Sussex 191 all out (38.1 overs) (Hodd 48, Claydon 2-20) by 33 runs runs.

Durham: Di Venuto, Stoneman, Smith, Benkenstein, Breese, Coetzer, Richardson, Gidman, Borthwick, Claydon, Evans.
Sussex: Gatting, Thornely, Brown, Yardy, Aga, Hodd, Martin-Jenkins, Rayner, Keegan, Panesar, Kirtley.