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REPORT: Wells leads from the front on day one


Captaining Sussex for the first time, Luke Wells led from the front with his third century of the season in the Specsavers County Championship match against Durham at Chester-le-Street.

He followed his 258 against the same opponents at Hove in May by making 122 in a total of 346, to which Durham replied with eight for one, as Ollie Robinson removed Keaton Jennings leg-before off the last ball of the day.

On 37, Wells reached 1,000 Championship runs for the first time, shrugging off the first-ball dismissal of Harry Finch to share a second-wicket stand of 186 with Stiaan van Zyl, the second time the pair have put on a hundred together in as many innings. 

Wells' desire to bat on a sunny morning was vindicated as he chose to toss and was obligingly put in by Paul Collingwood.

There was much playing and missing as the ball nipped around in the first hour, with Rushworth and Graham Onions well supported by the pacy Brydon Carse in his second appearance of the season.

The edges which eluded Durham then arrived when the second new ball was taken and the last five wickets went down for 18 runs in 6.3 overs. 

Resting Chris Nash and David Wiese, Sussex handed opportunities to Laurie Evans and Phil Salt. But both fell to Jennings, who also strangled Wells down the leg side and had figures of 5-0-22-3 at one stage.

Wells clattered anything short and wide of off stump, as when he carved Carse over backward point for the four which took him to 50 off 101 balls.

He accelerated to complete his century off 178 balls by accepting a gift from Rushworth, which he leg glanced for his 13th four. Wells' hundred was the 16th of his Championship career and took him past 6,000 career runs in the tournament. 

Van Zyl scored one off his first 26 balls but two whipped pulls for four off successive balls from Carse got him going.

He forged ahead of Wells but fell for 92 when he sliced a drive off James Weighell to point, then Evans made 19 before edging behind off the penultimate ball before tea.

Salt hit two lovely fours off Jennings in his 11 before falling lbw attempting to pull a ball which kept a shade low.

Luke Wright hit several powerful drives through the covers in making 43 off 68 balls and put on 53 with Michael Burgess, deputising for injured captain Ben Brown.

Both departed in the first two overs with the new ball, Burgess being a shade unlucky when he played a ball from Rushworth into his stumps with just enough force to remove a bail.

Onions nipped one back sharply to take out Wright's off stump, Ollie Robinson edged Rushworth to Tom Latham at second slip, George Garton turned Onions straight to mid-wicket, and Stuart Whittingham got an inside edge to leave Rushworth with four for 64.

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