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5th May 2009

Sussex v Durham – Day 4 – Latest news

The day started with the sun shining over the sea in Brighton but as the team bus pulled into the ground at Hove the team had just enough time to get to the dressing room before the heavens opened.  Play started at 12.30pm.  Lunch will be taken at 1.30pm, tea at 4.10pm and the scheduled close will be 6.30pm.  Due to the late start 13 overs have been lost, leaving 83 overs to be played.

Covers on

Mitchell Claydon bowled the first over of the day as Sussex resume on 269-6.  Claydon strikes in the third over of the day as Martin-Jenkins is caught by Phil Mustard for 3.  Stephen Harmison comes on for the 80th over, taking the new ball.  

Hodd was trapped lbw off the bowling of Liam Plunkett just after reaching his century leaving Sussex 310-8.  Stephen Harmison claimed his first wicket of the match with Rayner caught by Mustard on 23.  Mitchell Claydon picked up the wicket of Collymore (4) in Sussex’s 98th over.  Sussex finished their innings with 363 on the board.

Sussex - playing in sun

Mark Stoneman (24) was caught by Hodd off the bowling of Rayner fifteen minutes before the tea interval bringing Will Smith onto the field to join Michael Di Venuto. 

At tea Durham were 53-1, Smith added 7 to the total before being run out leaving Durham 68-2.  Michael Di Venuto hit fifty off 107 balls by the 34th over and Durham passed the hundred mark on the board an over later.

Gordon Muchall put fifty on the board for the third time in a championship fixture this season, this time in 75 balls, which included six four’s.  At the close of play Durham were 164-2, Muchall and Di Venuto just three short of a hundred partnership.

Play started on day two with Liam Plunkett and Callum Thorp at the crease.  It took just two overs for Liam to pass his championship highest score (74*) with a four off the bowling of Luke Wright. 

Durham picked up their fourth bowling point with a two from Callum Thorp in the 107th over.  Durham were on 369 when Thorp (29) was caught by Yardy off the bowling of Rayner.  Mitchell Claydon was bowled by Luke Wright for six which brought in Stephen Harmison to partner Liam Plunkett.

Durham finished with 380 on the board after Harmison, Rayners second victim, was caught by Hodd, leaving Plunkett 94* at the end of Durham’s first innings.

At lunch Sussex were 22 without loss off 8 overs.  Twenty minutes after play resumes following the lunch break the rain starts to fall and the air becomes quite hazy.  The covers come on and both sides head back to the dressing rooms.  Almost immediately it starts to brighten up, the covers are removed and the umpires go out to the middle and bring the sides back out. 

Plunkett bowled Nash in the 20th over with Sussex 81 -1 and Joyce (0) was caught by Mustard in Mitchell Claydon’s fifth over leaving Sussex 90-2 after 24 overs.  Murray Goodwin was out for a duck after being caught behind off Liam Plunkett six balls later.  The combination of Mustard and Plunkett struck again when Hamilton-Brown was dismissed for 0 on the 27th over.

Luke Wright brought up Sussex’s hundred running three but it wasn’t long before Durham claimed their next wicket, that of Yardy (51), who was bowled by Claydon in the 27th over.

At tea Sussex were 154-5.  As the afternoon progressed Hodd and Wright both passed the fifty mark.  Their partnership lasted 38 overs and was broken when Gordon Muchall caught Wright (67) off the bowling of Ian Blackwell.  At the close Sussex were 269-6.

On Liam Plunkett’s performance over the last two days, Head Coach Geoff Cook said, “It would have been brilliant for Liam to get his first hundred, he’s on a bit of a mission to get his confidence back in the game generally.  He’s starting to show signs of a deep rooted confidence, he bowled a good spell and came back and bowled a very tidy spell towards the end of the day.  There are lots and lots of good signs there.  If he can keep that trend going then he’s going to be a terrific asset for us.  He’s going to get plenty of opportunities with us in all forms of cricket.”

The Durham squad was out warming up ahead of their rivals at Hove this morning, the sun was shining and while there is a mild breeze around the ground, the press box must easily be the warmest place at the ground thanks to a conservatory style roof.  The windows at the front open up patio style to view the pitch from square leg. 

Team practising

The ground at Hove is just off the sea front and is overlooked by apartment blocks and houses.  The ground itself is split into several different viewing areas, ranging from stands, to deckchairs and picnic style tables.  

Durham won the toss and elected to bat first, as they did at Taunton last week.  The umpires this week are Nigel Cowley and John Holder.  Play started on time, with Durham’s Championship winners flag flying above the scoreboard, as Mark Stoneman and Michael Di Venuto opened the batting for Durham.

Mark Stoneman was bowled by Damien Wright leaving Durham 10-1 and Will Smith put 12 on the board before being trapped lbw by Martin-Jenkins, after 16 overs Durham were 41-2. 

Di Venuto (20) was caught by Hodd off the bowling of Wright, taking his haul to two wickets in the first session.  At lunch Durham were 84-3 with Benkenstein and Muchall at the crease.

During the lunch interval Sussex supporters were invited to take a look at the development plans for the ground.  Plans include a South West stand, which will hold seats for 1475 people plus the Reception area, a museum, club shop and food and drink outlets. 

The proposals also include a new Gilligan stand which will incorporate a learning centre, media centre, physio room, changing rooms and a viewing area. 

Dale Benkenstein kick started the session after lunch with a four on the first ball.  Muchall (24) was caught by Hodd off the bowling of Luke Wright in the 34th over and Ian Blackwell was trapped lbw by Collymore two overs later leaving Durham 107-5.

Martin-Jenkins picked up his second lbw of the day with Phil Mustard dismissed for 32 in the 54th over – Durham 162-6 at that point. 

Dale Benkenstein, who was dropped 19 at second slip, hit his second successive championship century in 184 balls, including 13 four’s and one six, bringing Durham’s total to 239-6.

Liam Plunkett hit his seventh career fifty in 94 balls, with Durham 280-6 with 8 overs remaining.  Durham picked up their third batting point in the 91st over.

Benkenstein was Damien Wright’s 300th first class victim after being caught at deep square leg by Nash on 136, just two short of a 150 run partnership with Plunkett.  Dale’s century was from 230 balls and included 18 fours and 6 six.  

Callum Thorp joined Plunkett at the crease for the final few overs of the day and at the close of play Durham were 318-7.

Durham CCC travelled to Hove today with a thirteen man squad for their LV County Championship match (Wed 6 – Sat 9 May) against Sussex.

Graham Onions is unavailable for selection due to his inclusion in the England squad to face the West Indies at Lord’s this week.  Liam Plunkett returns from England Lions duty and Luke Evans is included in the squad for the first time this season.

Sussex gates

The team bus pulled into SCCC at around 5.00pm and team unloaded their kit and took it up to the dressing room.  The Performance Analyst set up the equipment for the match in a room just off the dressing room, while the remainder of the team familiarised themselves with the ground.  We’ll put some photos of the ground up on the website over the coming days.

Practice facilities weren’t available to us on arrival so the lads had a kick about on the pitch, in a closely fought battle between the youngsters and the elder statesmen.

Play is scheduled to start on Wednesday 6 May at 11.00am.  Check the website for the latest news or follow us on Twitter, where we’ll be giving insights into the press box and various aspects of the away trips.

Mark Stoneman (26)
Michael Di Venuto (23)
Will Smith (2) Captain
Gordon Muchall (24)
Dale Benkenstein (44)
Ian Blackwell (37)
Gareth Breese (70)
Phil Mustard (19) Wicket Keeper
Liam Plunkett (20)
Callum Thorp (36)
Mitchell Claydon (25)
Stephen Harmison (10)
Luke Evans (11)