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Harmison wraps up Durham victory

COUNTY CHAMPIONSHIP DIVISION ONE, Riverside:
CLOSE OF PLAY, FINAL DAY: Durham 473-4 dec and 80-1 beat Sussex 245 and 304 by nine wickets
(Durham 22pts, Sussex 2pts)


Steve Harmison
Steve Harmison has now gone past 50 Championship wickets this summer

Steve Harmison defied the pain of his badly-blistered feet to take the last three Sussex wickets as champions Durham earned a nine-wicket victory.

Resuming at 208-5, Sussex, champions in 2007, were bowled out for 304, the only resistance from Luke Wright, unbeaten on 118, as they were dismissed for 304.

That left Durham needing just 77 to win. And Michael Di Venuto followed his unbeaten 254 in the first innings.

Di Venuto's 39 not out helped him reach 1,000 first-class runs for the season.

Coming on for the 13th over of the day after only one wicket had been taken, Harmison wasted little time as he set about getting the job done.

After striking in his second over, he then bowled the last two batsmen with successive balls in only his seventh.

After bowling six wicketless overs and conceding 41 runs before limping off on Sunday evening, Harmison finished with 3-68 to take his tally of first-class wickets this season to 53.

It was unbeaten Durham's sixth win of the season, which was enough to win the title last year.

Sussex took only two points from the match to increase their relegation fears.


Durham coach Geoff Cook told BBC Radio Newcastle:

"The lads have played well in four-day cricket all season, and in recent weeks we've looked really strong.

"We said that if we were still batting at the end of the first day, we would be in a good position, and we ended up with a formidable-looking total.

"Getting to this stage of the season, those wins are becoming more and more vital."

Sussex batsman Luke Wright told BBC Radio Newcastle:

"It's a shame that I didn't get that hundred in the first innings otherwise it might have been a different result.

"Credit to Durham, they're a very good side and they played very well.

"We're disappointed with the loss, but we've got to bounce back from that."

BBC Radio Newcastle's Martin Emmerson gives his post-match verdict on Durham's chances of retaining the County Championship crown:

"Ten games in and there seems no stopping Durham right now.

"They still haven't lost in the Championship this season and this was win number six.

"Just who is going to be able to reel them in?

"Durham's lead is more than 30 points - even though they were docked a point in this one for a slow over rate.

"Had the final wicket been taken a ball earlier then they would not have lost that point.

"How they can be docked any points when they won a game with an afternoon to go? That is simply farcical!

"But great effort all round from Durham. They are certainly worthy leaders.

"Sussex now have serious concerns about relegation, although their England one-day all-rounder Luke Wright says one win will change that."



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