A round-up from around the grounds with two County Championship games heading into their final day on Thursday
Hove: (third day of four): Durham 384 & 284-3, Sussex 232 & 59-3 - Sussex need a further 378 runs to win
Durham are in a strong position to claim their second County Championship win of the season after Alex Lees’ century and Chris Rushworth’s three wickets underlined their dominance against Sussex.
After Lees made 143 and Gareth Harte 77, Durham declared their second innings on 284 for three and set Sussex 437 to win in a minimum of 126 overs.
It would be the second-highest successful fourth innings chase in Sussex’s history, but the odds on them achieving it lengthened when veteran Rushworth nipped out Luke Wells and Harry Finch for ducks with the new ball.
But from four for two, Will Beer (36) and Stiaan van Zyl took Sussex to 59 before Rushworth returned to claim a third wicket when he had Beer leg before in the penultimate over of the day. Sussex closed on 59 for three with van Zyl 17 not out and Durham will fancy their chances of winning at Hove for the first time since 2011.
Northampton (third day of four): Northamptonshire 299, Leicestershire 273-7
Hassan Azad’s carefully compiled 92 saw Leicestershire build a steady reply to Northamptonshire’s 299 on the third day at Wantage Road. Azad batted for over two sessions to help Leicestershire reach 273 for seven before bad light curtailed the day 15 overs early.
Following a century in each innings against Gloucestershire in his last match, Azad again demonstrated a thirsty appetite for occupying the crease and blunted a game Northants attack who operated with good control throughout the day and found some movement.
The 25-year-old left-hander showed excellent judgement to leave well and was proactive in his defence, often advancing at the bowling to negate the moving ball. There were only three boundaries - one of them a top-edged pull over the wicketkeeper’s head - in his 132-ball half-century.
His strike-rate was pedestrian but it was a classic case of grinding out a score when timing wasn’t particularly easy and the bowling was probing.
After tea, Azad very carefully swept Rob Keogh’s off spin for four before an all-run four, via an overthrow, took him to 90. His latest advance down the wicket saw him shimmy out at Luke Procter to drive him through mid-off and take him past 600 runs for the season.
But within sight of a third consecutive century, Azad clipped Procter straight to Matt Coles at backward-square leg. The trap had been set for much of the day and he finally succumbed after a 212-ball vigil.
Courtesy of the ECB reporters network
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