As Durham nears a crushing victory, Bas de Leede leads the line

bas de leede
Bas de Leede reached his first-ever first-class century

After yet another impressive showing on day three at Seat Unique Riverside, Durham is inching closer to victory in their LV= Insurance County Championship Division Two matchup against Sussex.

Bas de Leede put up an excellent all-around performance as he scored his first-ever first-class century and then took three wickets with the ball. In a match against Sussex, Durham recorded their best Championship total of 505 for nine declared points, led by Graham Clark’s highest first-class score of 128.

Following Matt Parkinson’s crucial dismissal of Cheteshwar Pujara and the opening up of the lower order, Matthew Potts quickly made inroads into the visitors’ starting lineup. 

After removing Oli Carter after a heroic 80, De Leede added two more strikes to put Durham in danger. But Sussex, under the leadership of Fynn Hudson-Prentice, persevered and won with a slim lead of 24 going into the final day.

De Leede, who was heading toward his first-ever first-class century, helped Durham increase their advantage after they had already taken a dominant 158-run lead at the start of the day. 

De Leede moved into position by cruising through the ninety against Jayev Unadkat with back-to-back boundaries, much like Clark did the night before. De Leede reached the milestone for the first time from 137 balls after a brief break on 99 when he discovered the opening across the gully to the fence.

The next delivery saw the Dutchman succumb to Henry Crocombe, ending his connection with Clark for a superb 207 that helped Durham transition from a secure position to a commanding one. 

With three more wickets, including Clark for a career-high 128 after he blasted a drive straight to cover, Crocombe did manage to put an exclamation point on the innings. With a comfortable 239-run lead, Scott Borthwick brought in the final pair to allow his bowlers a 20-minute period before lunch.

Tom Clark avoided being dropped at first slip, but Potts made sure it was not a costly error by lbw-in the left-hander. The English bowler then struck a stunning blow to get rid of Tom Haines’ off-stump, giving the visitors a score of 24 for two. After failing in the first innings, India’s Pujara was determined to thwart the home team’s efforts to win the match as he came to the bowling crease.

The wickets continued to fall at the other end, though, unabated. Ollie Robinson’s great keeper work caused Tom Alsop to fall, and James Coles was taken out by Borthwick’s excellent catch at second slip, giving Potts his third wicket.

Carter provided Pujara with the essential resistance to stop Durham from pushing his way through the lineup when he needed it. Despite difficult spells from Potts and Parkinson, the two batters together remained steady throughout the afternoon session.

Carter patiently fought his way to his fifty alongside his captain for the seventh time this season while Pujara patiently battled his way to a half-century from 95 balls. Pujara’s resiliency, though, was broken by a partnership of 83 for the sixth wicket, which Parkinson broke with a magnificent delivery to dismiss the India batsman for the second time in the match.

Following his prowess with the bat earlier in the day, De Leede then had a significant influence with the ball. He yorked Carter but was cruelly denied when the ball hit the stumps and failed to remove the bails.

However, he kept Carter’s innings alive and terminated it for 80 runs, lbw-ing the wicket keeper before dismissing Jack Carson and Aristides Karvelas to move Durham closer to victory. With an undefeated half-century that helped Sussex gain a slim lead, Hudson-Prentice kept the home team going throughout the extra half-hour.