Harmison gets break as Durham dominate

Durham 264-2 Sussex

The difficulties of being Steve Harmison continue. The England fast bowler's commitment to helping Durham defend their Championship crown is beyond question but even he must have heaved a weary sigh at the prospect of driving home from Edgbaston late on Thursday evening to rejoin his teammates here.

His late release from the third Test came about because England would not name a starting line-up until they knew how truncated the contest might be. It was hardly ideal preparation for a four-day match, although after being deemed surplus to requirements at Lord's two weeks ago, he drove straight to Trent Bridge and was bowling barely an hour after pulling into the car park.

This time, at least, the boots could remain in his cricket bag as the burden of frustration passed to the seven bowlers employed by Sussex, whose labours were rewarded with just two wickets as Michael di Venuto and Will Smith took control on a pitch that offered little encouragement to seamer or spinner.

It will take all of Harmison's hostility to bring about a change in its character when Sussex bat, although that does not look like being any time soon after Durham's second-wicket pair completed a century each on a day on which the passing of Sir Bobby Robson, who was an honorary member here, was marked with a minute's silence and the wearing of black armbands by both sets of players.

Durham had a lead of 24 points going into this round, even after sitting out last week's action. Another victory here will make them hard to dislodge and Smith, the Durham captain, should be well satisfied with the outcome after winning the toss and choosing to bat first.

Scoring runs was never a cakewalk. The square here was flooded a couple of weeks ago and both pitch and outfield were slow. Those toiling Sussex bowlers, moreover, deserve credit for keeping up their workrate for such paltry returns. They could have had better luck, particularly Corey Collymore, who managed to have both batsmen playing and missing well into their innings.

Smith, in fact, seldom looked particularly comfortable for long and rarely had a run of fluent strokes. But he grafted away with commendable application and though his scoring rate was barely better than a run every three balls faced, he stuck around long enough to register his first hundred of the season before Collymore, with the new ball, at last found a way through to clip the off bail.

Di Venuto was rather more watchable but he too needed to bring his experience to bear. His century – a second against his former county this season – came off 150 balls with 15 fours, a good proportion of which came from cuts or drives through the off side. The partnership of 231 was a Durham record against Sussex.

The early wicket to fall had been that of Mark Stoneman, who pushed at one from Yasir Arafat that left him a little, Mike Yardy taking the catch at first slip.

News
people
News
A survey carried out by Sainsbury's Finance found 20% of new university students have never washed their own clothes, while 14% cannot even boil an egg
science...and the results are not as pointless as that sounds
News
Dominique Alderweireld, also known as Dodo de Saumure, is the owner of a string of brothels in Belgium
newsPhilip Sweeney gets the inside track on France's trial of the year
News
Cumberbatch was speaking on US television when he made the comment (Getty)
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Tom DeLonge, Travis Barker and Mark Hoppus of Blink-182 pictured in 2011.
musicBassist Mark Hoppus and drummer Travis Barker say Tom Delonge is 'disrespectful and ungrateful'
Sport
football
Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman and David Tennant star in 'Broadchurch'
tvBroadchurch series 2, episode 4, review - contains spoilers
Sport
cyclingDisgraced cycling star says people will soon forgive his actions
News
Britain's Prince Philip attends a Garden Party at Buckingham Palace in London
people
Arts and Entertainment
Ed Sheeran will play three sell-out gigs at Wembley Stadium in July
music
News
i100
News
Lena Dunham posing for an official portrait at Sundance 2015
people
Arts and Entertainment
Under the skin: Sarah Kane in May 1998
theatreThe story behind a new season of Sarah Kane plays
Arts and Entertainment
Preening: Johnny Depp in 'Mortdecai'
filmMortdecai becomes actor's fifth consecutive box office bomb
Sport
Bradford City's reward for their memorable win over Chelsea is a trip to face either Sunderland or Fulham (Getty)
football
News
Lars Andersen took up archery in his mid thirties
video
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea