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25th September 2008

Durham win LV County Championship

Callum Thorp’s career-best 7-88 and three wickets for Steve Harmison hastened Durham to an innings-and-71-run win against their hosts – who are therefore relegated from Division One.

Until Harmison joined Thorp in the wickets column, the Australia seamer stayed in with a shot at taking all 10 at Canterbury.

By breaking Justin Kemp and his fellow South Africa batsman Ryan McLaren’s defiant century stand and then seeing off Yasir Arafat too, Thorp was the driving force in the victory which took Durham eight points clear at the top of the table, with Nottinghamshire poised to go under at Trent Bridge.

McLaren remained unbeaten on 65 out of 204 all out – but could not hold back the Durham tide on his own.

Thorp, who knocked over Kent’s top five last night, was in business again in only his second over of a glorious morning.

Kemp sliced a drive to be well-caught by Dale Benkenstein, diving to his right in the gully – and ending a 69-ball innings which contained seven fours and a six.

McLaren stayed put and completed a 90-ball 50 featuring 10 boundaries. But he lost Arafat to an edged drive to second slip off Thorp.

England fast bowler Harmison was operating in tandem with Thorp, despite a cracked bone in his guide-arm wrist – an injury he suffered in the field yesterday and which needed a cast for protection.

Harmison got his reward when he brought a quick ball back up the hill from the Nackington Road end to bowl James Tredwell for a duck, the left-hander offering no shot.

Not content with that, Harmison (3-58) then took the final two wickets in two balls – Robbie Joseph fencing a catch to second slip and number 11 Martin Saggers bowled.