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Page last updated at 17:39 GMT, Wednesday, 6 May 2009 18:39 UK

Benkenstein knock rescues Durham

CLOSE OF PLAY, DAY ONE: Durham 318-7
(Sussex 2pts, Durham 3pts)
6-9 May 2009 (Play starts 1100 BST)

Dale Benkenstein
Benkenstein's 136 is his second successive Championship hundred

Another hundred from former captain Dale Benkenstein led defending county champions Durham out of trouble against Sussex on the first day at Hove.

After winning the toss, the visitors were reduced to 41-3 before Benkenstein's 136 helped them reach 318-7 at the close.

He was well supported in a seventh-wicket stand by Liam Plunkett (65 no).

Damien Wright (3-57) and Robin Martin-Jenkins (2-60) were the pick of the bowlers for the home side.

But it was Benkenstein who held Durham together with his second successive Championship century.

The South African's 181 against Somerset at Taunton last week also dug his side out of trouble. And this time Durham were 162-6 when he finally found a willing ally in Plunkett.

He helped him put on 148 before a tired-looking Benkenstein pulled a short ball from Damien Wright to deep mid-wicket three overs before the close after facing 230 balls in four hours 43 minutes.

BBC Sussex's John Lees reviews day one at Hove:

"Durham shaded the day due to Benkenstein's magnificent innings.

"He found a good partner in Liam Plunkett. Their partnership was much needed because it was all Sussex early on.

"For long periods when Benkenstein and Plunkett were together, it seemed like Sussex did not know where the next wicket would come from."

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