DURHAM overcame a sudden attack of jittery running between the wickets to reach 81 for two in reply to Sussex’s 505 for nine declared at Hove.
Keaton Jennings was a victim of Scott Borthwick’s sudden aberrations, which almost resulted in Kumar Sangakkara also being run out.
But the Sri Lankan veteran had a calming word with Borthwick, who was on 53 when the threat of a downpour brought the lunch break forward by ten minutes.
There was a ten-minute break for rain in the fifth over and with storm clouds building further interruptions seem certain.
Mark Stoneman fell to the day’s seventh ball, pushing forward and edging Jimmy Anyon to the wicketkeeper for one.
With the ball nipping around, Jennings did well to survive some testing bowling from Steve Magoffin, Anyon and Jon Lewis and wasn’t impressed when his hard work was undone by Borthwick’s misjudgement.
Having forced a back-foot shot wide of cover, Borthwick set off for a second run which wasn’t on then changed his mind with Jennings stranded in mid-pitch.
Amazingly, Durham took on the same fielder, Luke Wright, twice more in the next few overs. First Sangakkara had to scramble home on his own call after a push into the covers, then might well have been out had Wright’s shy hit the stumps following a Borthwick call.
On 19 Borthwick went very close to being bowled when he shouldered arms to Magoffin then straight drove the next ball for four.
From 33 he raced to his half-century, following an inside edge for four off Anyon with a pulled six and two overs later he drove successive balls through extra cover and backward point. Sangakkara was on seven at lunch.