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Benham century holds up champions

COUNTY CHAMPIONSHIP DIVISION ONE, The Rose Bowl :
CLOSE OF PLAY, DAY THREE: Durham 439, Hampshire 267-6 (Durham 5pts, Hants 2pts)

15-18 September 2009


Chris Benham
Chris Benham's highest Hampshire score (158) came in the Pro40 in 2006

Hampshire's Chris Benham hit a maiden County Championship century to hold up champions Durham in their push for a ninth win of 2009 at The Rose Bowl.

Benham, 26, whose previous best Championship score was 95, came to the crease as relegation-haunted Hampshire faced the prospect of following on.

But Benham dominated a 152-run fifth-wicket stand with Nic Pothas to recover from 114-4 in reply to Durham's 439.

Hampshire ended on 267-6, still needing another 22 to be safe from a follow-on.

Benham was playing in only his fourth match of the season after failing to break into the Hampshire top order. But he justified his elevation with a well-constructed ton.

Durham, beginning the third day in a powerful position at 435-9, added only another four runs before last man Steve Harmison was leg before to David Griffiths.

Durham captain Will Smith then quickly turned to spinners Ian Blackwell and debutant Scott Borthwick. And both were rewarded with wickets in the session before lunch.

Blackwell had Liam Dawson caught at the wicket at 52 before trapping Michael Lumb in front.

And Borthwick got his maiden wicket in first-class cricket when he had James Vince caught at slip.

Opener Jimmy Adams was holding the Hampshire innings together in his 10th innings of 50 or more this season.

But, soon after completing his half-century, on 57, he pulled a short delivery from Borthwick to deep square leg, where Harmison clutched the catch.

Durham sensed the possibility of further breakthroughs until Benham and Pothas came together.

But, almost immediately after reaching three figures fohe first time, Benham was out, edging Borthwick to slip.

And Durham snatched another wicket in the last over of the day when nightwatchman Griffiths was bowled by Liam Plunkett.

At the close, the obdurate Pothas was unbeaten on 55 and, unless they can claim four more quick wickets, time is running out for Durham with only one day left.

While Durham's top wicket taker this season Harmison failed to claim a single scalp, Borthwick's first bowl in Championship cricket earned him the highly respectable figures of 3-71 from 22 overs.



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