Gordon Muchall lifts Durham at Sussex

Gordon Muchall
Gordon Muchall

Gordon Muchall helped marshall some late resistance to boost leaders Durham’s hopes on the opening day of their championship game against Sussex at Arundel Castle.

Durham were in trouble at 197 for seven but Muchall, who finished unbeaten on 81, helped Durham’s last three wickets add 104 as they collected their first batting bonus points for five matches.

Durham were in trouble at 197-7 but Muchall helped Durham’s last three wickets add 104.

Tim Linley made a profitable return to action side by taking five wickets for the first time since 2012.

The 33-year-old took five for 63 at the start of a month-long loan spell from Surrey as Durham were dismissed for 301 having been put in.

Chris Rushworth gave Durham encouragement by bowling openers Michael Yardy and Luke Wells in successive overs as Sussex closed on 44 for two.

Linley had a season with Sussex in 2006 but did not make a championship appearance and joined Surrey three years later.

Getting just enough seam movement on a good length, he took three wickets in 15 balls in his first spell before picking up two more in three deliveries during the afternoon.

Linley had to endure a heavier workload than he might have expected after Ajmal Shahzad broke down just four overs into his comeback when he suffered a recurrence of the pectoral muscle injury that had sidelined him for five weeks.

After Steve Magoffin had bowled Keaton Jennings through the gate in the fifth over, Durham counter-attacked impressively through Mark Stoneman and Scott Borthwick, who thrashed 69 runs in just 8.3 overs.

But Linley settled on a probing line straight away, his first victim Borthwick (24) taken at second slip fencing outside off stump.

In the next over Stoneman, who had struck nine fours and a six in 44 balls for his 51, edged a beauty which nipped away to first slip before skipper Paul Collingwood (nine) was leg before offering no shot.

After lunch, Magoffin ended a stand of 83 in 24 overs for the fifth wicket when Michael Richardson (46) was superbly caught by the diving Chris Nash at midwicket.

When Linley returned to bowl Ryan Pringle with a ball which kept a shade low and Paul Couglin fell for a second-ball duck Sussex were well on top, but Muchall showed impressive discipline while feasting on anything short or wide.

His footwork against the leg spin of Wells and slow left-armer George Dockrell, who was also making his Sussex debut after joining on a month’s loan from Somerset, was eye-catching.

John Hastings (23) helped Muchall put on 36 for the eighth wicket and Chris Rushworth gave him excellent support in a ninth-wicket alliance of 63.

Both fell to Wells, who has switched to leg spin after bowling off breaks earlier in his career.

Muchall came down the pitch to drive Dockrell through midwicket for his 11th boundary to bring up Durham’s 300 before the innings ended in the next over when Graham Onions drilled the ball to mid-on.

Rushworth made the breakthrough in Sussex’s reply when Yardy was bowled shouldering arms while fellow opener Wells got a thin inside edge onto his stumps before Matt Machan and Ed Joyce guided their side to the close without further loss.