Kumar Sangakkara scored a magnificent 159 against Sussex (photo: getty images)
STUMPS, DAY 4. Sussex 505-9 dec (Wright 189, Brown 163) v Durham 451-7 (Sangakkara 159, Borthwick 84, Collingwood 74). Match drawn.
Points: Sussex 12, Durham 11.
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Kumar Sangakkara signed off his two-game stint with Durham in style as the Sri Lanka hit a magnificent 152 in the drawn match against Sussex.
The 36 year old put on 144 with fellow T20 World Cup winner Paul Collingwood, as the experienced pair put on a batting masterclass in the sunshine at Hove.
With the match predictably ending in a stalemate, Durham have now drawn their first four games but this game will be remembered for a high quality innings from Sangakkara.
Unfortunately, the visitors missed out on maximum batting points by just two runs, despite some aggressive stroke play from Collingwood in particular.
The captain eventually fell for 74, scored at nearly a run a ball, and Usman Arshad and Mark Wood were unable to reach the 400 run mark before the end of the 110th over.
After a rain affected two days, Durham resumed on 137-2 but lost Scott Borthwick (84) straight away, as the England man failed to add to his overnight score. Borthwick edged a delivery from James Anyon through to Ben Brown, which brought Michael Richardson to the crease.
The in-form South African got into double figures before a ball from Luke Wells kept low and struck him on the pad, prompting Richard Illingworth to raise his finger.
Durham's skipper joined Sangakkara and the pair began to move through the gears, sensing a need to claim as many batting points as possible. 102 runs were scored in the morning session and Sangakkara was close to his century when the players went in for lunch.
Sussex took the new ball as the Sri Lankan moved towards three figures, before he brought up a richly deserved century when he clipped Steve Magoffin into the leg side.
The new ball was proving to be helpful towards the pursuit of runs, as Collingwood cut through the offside to bring up his half-century, before dispatching the next delivery to the leg side fence with a strong pull shot.
Maximising a short boundary, Collingwood and Sangakkara continued to score fluently, with Sangakkara effortlessly hitting Luke Wright for six as the home bowlers desperately tried to stop the flow of runs.
Ed Joyce turned to one of his spinners, and after being slog-swept for six, Ashar Zaidi then accounted for Collingwood after the former England man picked out Jon Lewis at long-off.
A huge six from Sangakkara eased Durham past the 350 mark and the maximum points target looked tough, but attainable. Sangakkara brought up his 150 with a cut shot, before he was finally caught on the deep midwicket boundary. The players took tea, meaning Durham needed a further eight runs from 11 balls to claim that final point.
Unfortunately, the visitors couldn't quite manage it. Phil Mustard was caught out as he hooked a ball from Magoffin to Wells and Anyon then bowled a miserly over to leave Durham just two runs short.
Arshad (38*) and Wood (20) batted on, passing 450 before the players shook hands on a draw.
Durham remain unbeaten this season, and will hope to get their NatWest T20 Blast campaign off to a winning start this Friday when Worcestershire Rapids come to Emirates Durham ICG. Tickets are available here
STUMPS, DAY THREE: Sussex 505-9 dec (Wright 189, Brown 163) v Durham 137-2 (Borthwick 84*, Sangakkara 30*). Durham trail Sussex by 368 runs with 8 first innings wickets remaining.
Points - Sussex 5, Durham 2.
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Another rain affected day on the south coast means that Durham look set to record a fourth successive draw.
Regular showers meant that only 45 overs were possible on day three, but there was enough time for Scott Borthwick (84*) and Kumar Sangakkara (30*) to put together a century partnership.
Durham lost Mark Stoneman and Keaton Jennings early, but the third wicket pairing of Borthwick and Sangakkara were batting well before a heavy downpour brought a premature end to the day's play.
The hosts declared overnight and although play started on time in the morning, there was a threat of rain from the outset. Before the first shower though, Stoneman edged a good delivery from James Anyon through to wicketkeeper Ben Brown.
A horrible mix-up between Jennings and Borthwick then resulted in the young opener being run out for 13. Borthwick called for a second run but then seemed to change his mind, leaving Jennings stranded.
At 34-2, the visitors were under pressure from the experienced home attack but the two Durham left-handers rebuilt despite the continuing threat of showers.
Borthwick pulled Anyon for a masterful six into the Pavillion as the sky began to darken. The floodlights were switched on, but the rain then arrived and the players took an early lunch.
Two successive boundaries from Borthwick then brought up a first half-century of the season before two more stoppages either side of the tea interval.
Sangakkara survived a scare when he edged through the slips but on his final appearance for the county, the Sri Lankan International was still unbeaten when play was ended for the final time.
Stumps, Day Two: Sussex 505-9 (Magoffin 15*, Lewis 8*) v Durham at Hove.
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Showers by the seaside prevented hosts Sussex from making much progress on day two, with most of the play washed out.
Both centurions from the opening day were dismissed quickly, as Chris Rushworth had Luke Wright caught behind and Mark Wood bowled Ben Brown. Those two wickets were sandwiched either side of Ashar Zaidi's departure for a second ball duck, giving Rushworth a fourth victim.
Sussex's tailenders moved the score towards 500 before James Anyon fell for 23 as Sangakkara clung on to an edge from the left hander.
The players were forced to take an early lunch due to a rain shower, with hail also bombarding the ground as spectators headed for shelter.
Unfortunately, the ground became saturated as the rain continued to fall and the umpires decided to abandon efforts to resume play at 5.25. Only 17.4 overs were possible on a frustrating day at Hove.
STUMPS, DAY 1: Sussex 441-5 (Wright 183*, Brown 152*) v Durham at Hove.
A record sixth wicket partnership between Luke Wright and Ben Brown gave Sussex the upper hand on day one at Hove.
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The day had started almost perfectly for Durham as Paul Collingwood won the toss and his seam attack removed the top five with minimal fuss.
However, Wright (183*) and Brown (152*) counter-attacked and put on a staggering partnership that the visitors had no answer to. The pair have put on 326, which is a 6th wicket record for any team in matches against Durham.
Sussex were 115-5 shortly after lunch but then things began to go badly in the sunshine at Hove.
Graham Onions suffered an injury to his back and was unable to bowl, and the pair of Wright and Brown took advantage against a depleted attack to give the hosts a firm grip on the game.
In blustery conditions on the south coast, Chris Rushworth struck early in the morning as he enticed Chris Nash to edge behind. Michael Yardy was then dropped at point but Onions quickly sent him back to the pavilion thanks to a good catch by Sangakkara.
The in-form Ed Joyce was next to depart as Usman Arshad ripped out the Irishman's off-stump for 21, and Mark Wood then chipped in to have Luke Wells caught by Phil Mustard with a delivery that swung away from the left hander.
Three balls after the lunch break Rushworth found the edge of Scotland International Matt Machan's bat and Durham seemed to be in total command.
Wright and Brown had other ideas. Both attacking batsmen, the pair played in a bullish fashion, smashing boundaries to all parts of the seaside ground. Without the injured Onions, the bowlers couldn't find a breakthrough although Brown was dropped on 40, with Wright put down whilst on 80.
The new ball was taken, but the change failed to halt the flow of runs. By the close Sussex had picked up maximum batting points and broken the previous best 6th wicket partnership of 284, which had stood since 1996.