Rock-steady Benkenstein is the key as Durham go 23 points clear

Lancashire 84 & 282 Durham 186 & 182-5 (Durham win by 5 wickets)

Lancashire have played one match fewer than Durham, so the idea that this contest might determine the outcome of the Championship before the end of June is absurd. Yet the champions of 2008 and 2009 have a lead of 23 points and have beaten Lancashire twice, which is saying something.

The odds were against the home side. Teams bowled out for 84 in their first innings rarely win. Yet they sniffed a chance yesterday morning, when Durham arrived three down overnight and with 154 of the 181 runs needed still to get. The scene was set for a gripping conclusion and after a fashion it produced one, even though the five-wicket winning margin might seem to suggest a degree of comfort.

At first, it seemed as though Paul Collingwood, delighted to have rediscovered his form and "pleasantly surprised" with how much he is enjoying being a Durham player again, would follow his century against Yorkshire with another match-winning hundred. He had been given a chance on 21, put down by Paul Horton at first slip off Kyle Hogg, but that apart reached 45 in relative comfort.

Hogg and Saj Mahmood had run in well without much luck. But then bowling changes brought wickets. Luke Procter took over from Mahmood at the river end and struck with his second ball, Collingwood falling to a catch he might have made himself, in his prime, when Steven Croft clung on unexpectedly at third slip. When Gary Keedy then replaced Procter, he needed only two balls to trap Will Smith leg before.

Five down, still 99 short, the pressure was back on Durham. But their strength lies in their depth of experience and no one puts it to better use than Dale Benkenstein, the 37-year-old South African, whose form this season has been so consistent that in only five of his 15 innings in the Championship has he scored fewer than 50.

His superb, rock-steady unbeaten 83 on the first day here – when 20 wickets fell, in case you'd forgotten – was the innings that set up the win and he finished it with 60 not out yesterday, in the course of which he completed 1,000 first-class runs for the season and overtook Jon Lewis's tally of 7,854 to become Durham's all-time highest runscorer. Lancashire had other chances, notably when Ian Blackwell, who had made 14 of his 26, was badly dropped at long leg by Hogg, at which point Durham would have been six down and still 53 away from victory.

Yet Mark Chilton, standing in for the injured – and missed – Glen Chapple as captain, readily acknowledged that Benkenstein had been the key.

"We were well in the game until with 50 runs left we missed a run-out chance and a catch but you have to say that Dale was a huge factor," Chilton said. "His 83 in the first innings was exceptional and his innings today saw them home in a pressure situation."

Benkenstein, typically, received the plaudits in graceful modesty. "In some ways, when everyone else is getting out it frees you up a bit, because nobody can complain if you get out too," he said. "And you know me, I always play in the same boring way. I don't change. I try to hit the bad balls and when you get a good one you hope you don't nick it."

Suggested Topics
Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas