Promotion hopes dented as Sussex crash to Durham defeat
Sussex's County Championship promotion hopes have suffered a big setback in the north-east.
Durham secured their fourth victory of the Specsavers County Championship Division Two season, hammering Sussex by 186 runs at Emirates Riverside thanks to a fine performance with the ball by Chris Rushworth.
It leaves Jason Gillespie's men 21 points behind second-placed Kent in the race to finish in the top two and go up, and 33 behind leaders Warwickshire.
Gillespie said: "It was a couple of days to forget overall, if we're perfectly honest. I think Durham outbatted and outbowled us. It's something that we have to learn from. I've just spoken to the boys, it's about individual self-reflection what they can take away from this game and what they've learned.
"I thought Cameron Steel played very well, and Chris Rushworth bowled wonderfully well. It's up to us to learn as much as we can from this game. While it's disappointing and the lads are disappointed, it hurts to lose a cricket game in that manner. We must take something away from it and hopefully be better for the experience."
Looking ahead to Saturday's Vitality Blast Finals Day, the coach said: "The Vitality Blast is a completely different format. We're really excited about that. We've lost today and that's disappointing. The overall feel around the squad is excellent.
"The whole club is buzzing about Finals Day, we're really looking forward to that. We'll put this game to bed quickly. As I said to the lads in the dressing room as soon as we walk out of here, we'll hold our heads held high and move forward."
The home side appeared to be in trouble after their first innings after being bowled out for 103. However, Rushworth dug his team out of trouble with an outstanding spell of 8-51 before a brilliant hundred from Cameron Steel put Durham in command on day two. Jon Lewis' men set Sussex a daunting chase of 322 in their final innings, and the visitors were never able to threat as Rushworth dominated with the ball, claiming another four wickets to take his tally to 12 for the match. Axar Patel wrapped up the tail on his final match for Durham, allowing the home side to ease to the victory.
Durham began the day three 201 runs ahead of the visitors, although they lost Patel almost immediately as he played a loose shot against Danny Briggs that landed in the grasp of David Wiese. Steel maintained his form at the crease, notching his highest score at Emirates Riverside on his way to 150. He produced a stand with Paul Collingwood to edge Durham's lead towards the 300-run mark, although Steel was to fall to Tom Haines for 160, becoming the 19-year-old's maiden first-class wicket. The home side collapsed after lunch losing their final four wickets for four runs to be bowled out for 340, despite a season-best knock from Collingwood of 47. Sussex lost Phil Salt in the first over of their reply, chasing down 322 for the win. Rushworth burst through his defences to clean bowl the opener for a duck, while Matt Salisbury notched the scalp of Luke Wells in his first over. Harry Finch came and went leaving a straight delivery from Rushworth, which reduced the visitors to 11-3 and allowed the seamer to claim his 10th wicket of the match. Haines and Michael Burgess battled at the crease without looking comfortable amid tight bowling from the Durham attack. However, Rushworth's persistence paid off as he bowled Burgess for 22 before trapping Haines lbw for 40. The home side seized the initiative to close in on the victory as Patel removed Ben Brown, while Salisbury claimed his second wicket of the innings tearing one through the gate of David Wiese. Jofra Archer endured a miserable time at the crease at Chester-le-Street. He was bowled for a golden duck in the first innings, while his second attempt proved to be just as unsuccessful as he was run out by Michael Richardson after surviving an lbw shout. Patel pinned Chris Jordan lbw before Ollie Robinson clipped the left-arm spinner straight to Steel to allow the home side to secure the win by a comfortable margin.