Cricket: Lewis spearheads the charge

Derbyshire 254 and 176 Durham 174 and 257-4 Durham won by 6 wkts
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An Excellent 160 not out by the opener Jon Lewis ensured Durham secured a convincing victory by six wickets with more than a day to spare against Derbyshire, bottom of the table when the contest began and still without a win.

During his match-winning innings, which was also his highest in championship cricket, Lewis faced 234 balls, hit 25 boundaries and batted for almost five hours. Significantly, on the two occasions Durham have won championship matches this summer, Lewis has made big, unbeaten scores - 158 against Kent in June followed by yesterday's outstanding contribution.

Durham's victory and Lewis's achievement would not have been possible without the splendid support of the nightwatchman James Boyling (62), whose concentration and stubborn resistance were of the highest quality. Indeed, Lewis and Boyling, who joined forces at 28 for 3 on Friday when Durham's chances of victory were emphatically low, batted so competently and positively against ordinary bowling they amassed 204 - a record for Durham's fourth wicket.

Derbyshire, if they were to record their first win in what is an awful season, needed to make early and regular breakthroughs. But the seam attack of Phil DeFreitas, Devon Malcolm, Andrew Harris and Kevin Dean lacked the killer instinct. Lewis offered one chance on 45 with an uppish edge between first and second slip. The indecision shown by Vince Clarke and Chris Adams proved costly.

Lewis, in particular, placed the ball well and scored quickly with attractive shots on the off-side. He and Boyling put on 125 before lunch in 34 overs. Their partnership before the interval, which grew in strength afterwards, undoubtedly turned the match, so much so that at the start of the afternoon session, Durham needed only 84 to win.

With Derbyshire's attack continuing to be insipid, Lewis's and Boyling's march to victory remained unchallenged for 56 overs. At that point, with only another 25 required, Boyling was finally out for 62 - his best in the championship.

Not surprisingly, Lewis and David Boon completed the task and just after three o'clock Durham, who began the day needing another 209, left the field to loud applause.