Di Venuto was 19 short of the highest first-class score by a Durham player
Michael Di Venuto hit a career-best 254 not out for Durham against Sussex on day two of the Championship match at Chester-le-Street.
Di Venuto's score was the second highest for Durham in first-class cricket and he was supported by Dale Benkenstein (69).
A interruption for bad light prompted a declaration with Durham on 473-4.
Once play resumed after the break, Sussex closed the day on 119-1 with Michael Yardy on 54 not out.
The day's play was delayed by rain until 40 minutes before the official lunch-break, but once it began it was dominated by Di Venuto.
His 254 fell 19 short of Martin Love's 273 against Hampshire at Riverside in 2003.
Sussex in reply faced 38 overs and they were hit with the blow of losing Ed Joyce, who was struck on the right elbow and retired hurt on 32.
BBC Radio Newcastle's Martin Emmerson reviews Michael Di Venuto's innings:
"Michael Di Venuto's 254 was great to watch. He looked like he enjoyed every minute out in the middle and he took advantage of some lax Sussex bowling as well, hitting 35 fours and a six on his way to the biggest score of his career.
"Had I paid to get in, it would have been worth every penny.
"His partnership of 173 with Dale Benkenstein could yet prove crucial as well.
"Sussex need 324 to avoid the follow on and closed day two on 119-1, with Michael Yardy looking comfortable as he got his third half-century of the campaign.
"I get the impression there are plenty more runs to be scored here this weekend.
"Although Ed Joyce suffered a nasty blow to the arm from a Steve Harmison delivery he should be OK to resume his innings when needed - despite the fact he was forced to retire hurt on 32."
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