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County Championship: Alex Lees and Graham Clark hit centuries for Durham against Sussex

Durham opener Alex Lees hit eight fours and two sixes in his century against Sussex at Chester-le-Street.
Durham opener Alex Lees hit eight fours and two sixes in his century against Sussex at Chester-le-Street.

LV= County Championship Division Two, Seat Unique Riverside (day two)

Sussex 266: Alsop 59, Clark 58; Parkinson 4-58, Raine 3-57

Durham 6-0: Lees 103, Clark 102*; Carson 3-121

Durham (7 pts) lead Sussex (2 pt) by 158 runs

Match scorecard

Alex Lees and Graham Clark scored centuries to manoeuvre Durham into a match-winning position against Sussex on day two of their County Championship Division Two match at Seat Unique Riverside.

Lees continued his outstanding form this season with a knock of 103 from 155 balls to provide the foundation of the innings, notching his fifth Championship century of the campaign. He shared a stand of 146 with Scott Borthwick, who notched a gritty fifty in support of the left-hander.

Clark capitalised on a weary Sussex bowling attack late in the day with a flurry of boundaries to notch his second hundred of the term. Ollie Robinson and Bas de Leede bolstered Durham's position of strength with half-centuries of their own.

At the close, the home side moved into a dominant 158-run lead with five wickets remaining, with Clark and De Leede still at the crease.

In need of early wickets to shift the momentum of the game, Sussex did not have to wait long for the breakthrough as Aristides Karvelas found Michael Jones' outside edge from the fourth ball of the day. But, Lees settled into his rhythm to counter-attack for the hosts, taking three boundaries from Karvelas' second over.

The former England opener eased his way to his fifth fifty of the campaign from 72 balls, featuring two impressive strikes against Karvelas and Jack Carson that cleared the rope. Borthwick offered a reassuring complement at the other end, although he was not quite as fluent. Borthwick survived an inside edge and a nick through the slip cordon before finding his timing to post his third fifty of the campaign.

Lees and Borthwick shared a stand worth 146 for the second wicket before Carson found bounce out of the surface to prise out the Durham skipper for 56. Jaydev Unadkat then claimed the important wicket of David Bedingham, who picked out square-leg with a loose shot.

Lees remained unfettered at the other end and continued his outstanding Championship form by registering his fifth century of the season, handing the England selectors yet another reminder of his talent.

However, he was becalmed after reaching three figures through a spell of accurate bowling from Unadkat. The introduction of Carson brought the mistake from the left-hander as he steered a slog-sweep straight to Fynn Hudson-Prentice on the leg-side boundary.

Robinson worked to keep Durham in charge of the contest, having not played a competitive game in six weeks after being left out of the Northern Superchargers' line-up for their Hundred matches. The wicketkeeper showed no signs of rust and produced a fluent knock of 67 from 66 balls, including 10 fours and one maximum before he was pinned lbw by Carson.

Durham still had work ahead of them to turn a solid position into a match-winning opportunity. Clark and De Leede absorbed pressure initially from Carson and James Coles before the arrival of the new ball.

The duo then pressed the accelerator to push the hosts into a 100-run lead, producing a flurry of boundaries to punish an ailing attack.

Clark earned his reward for a solid defence and brought up his fourth half-century of the term, while De Leede was not far behind him in recording his third fifty, sharing an unbeaten stand of 159.

Clark upped the ante in the closing overs and surged through the nineties with three successive boundaries to record a deserved ton, capping an excellent day for the hosts in their bid to secure promotion.

Report supplied by ECB Reporters' Network.