HEAVY cloud cover this morning meant the ball started nipping around again and Durham took four wickets, despite the loss of 40 minutes to rain.
The sky became so dark that the Hove floodlights were switched on five minutes before lunch and before the over was completed the umpires took the players off with the score on 505 for nine.
It doesn’t bode well for the Durham batsmen as it looks most unlikely that the sun will shine this afternoon, as it did yesterday when Luke Wright and Ben Brown were putting the visiting bowlers to the sword.
They added only nine before Wright drove at Chris Rushworth and edged to Phil Mustard to end the record sixth-wicket stand of 335.
In adding six runs to his overnight 183 Wright passed his career-best, but he did so rather streakily when a forcing back-foot shot flew off a thick edge not far out of backward point’s reach. He then almost chopped on, so his departure was no great surprise.
Taking the London buses analogy to extremes, Ashar Zaidi departed two balls later when he pushed forward and gave Mustard his fifth catch of the innings.
What a pity his two drops were so expensive in a bizarre scorecard in which the third highest score is 23.
Brown’s career-best 163 is also the highest score by a Sussex No 7, beating another wicketkeeper, Jim Parks, who made 159 not out against Kent in 1950.
A good ball by Mark Wood nipped away to bowl Brown and the Ashington bowler found extra lift to have James Anyon caught at third slip by Kumar Sangakkara. It came three balls too late to earn Durham the third batting point. No-one else has bowled this morning and there has been no sign of Graham Onions on the day when Ben Stokes is due to have another scan on his wrist. Durham will be praying it produces good news.