Lewis Hatchett took five wickets for Sussex on Day One of their LV=County Championship match at Durham, but it was Mark Stoneman’s third century of the season that dominated the first half of the day for the north-east outfit.
The left-handed opener was seventh out with the total on 202, but after the big Australian, John Hastings, made 51 Paul Coughlin and Chris Rushworth put on 47 for the last wicket.
On his championship debut against Lancashire last week, Coughlin dominated a record ninth-wicket stand of 150 with Phil Mustard. This time he played second fiddle as Rushworth bludgeoned 32 off 18 balls before becoming Hatchett’s fifth victim.
It was the left-armer’s second five-wicket haul, four years after the first, and there were four wickets for Jon Lewis, who improved after being pulled for six by Stoneman in his first spell.
Six Durham batsmen fell to edged catches, the best of them a right-handed effort by James Tredwell at second slip to get rid of Stoneman for 113.
His hundred came off 129 balls with 15 fours and a six and he initially revived Durham from 30 for three in a stand of 102 with Ben Stokes, who made 36.
Batting looked to be easiest in the evening sunshine and Sussex openers Chris Nash and Luke Wells safely negotiated the six overs they had to face, although Rushworth posed a few problems.
Steve Magoffin, despite moving the ball both ways, only one wicket. He conceded runs at two an over until he took the second new ball and had salt rubbed into his wounds by the flailing bat of Rushworth, who top-edged a pull over the wicketkeeper for six.
On a day when the ball swung Hatchett and Steffan Piolet, included as an extra seamer at the expense of Matt Machan, were often guilty of dropping short. That allowed Stoneman to profit heavily from the cut and pull.
Stokes showed signs of getting back to his best in reaching 32 at lunch, but was becalmed afterwards and miscued to mid-on.
Durham, who chose to bat, were in danger of under-achieving when Hastings went in at 202 for seven. But he provided the perfect example of how to capitalise after carefully playing yourself in. He took 25 balls to get off the mark and 49 balls later he reached 50 through authentic strokeplay.