They needed 17 balls yesterday to take the final Sussex wicket and wrap up victory by 319 runs, taking them to fourth place in the LV=County Championship.
They are only three points behind Somerset and 29 behind joint leaders Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire with a game in hand. If they record a third successive win at Headingley, starting on July 7, they will be in the thick of the title race.
Durham are resigned to losing Ben Stokes to England and their priority is to get Onions and Wood fit to return.
Onions, who suffered his back injury at Hove on May 11, has bowled in the middle on the last three days without any reaction and the plan is to play him in the threeday Second X1 Championship match against Glamorgan, starting at Acklam Park on Tuesday.
There is also a one-day game on Monday, when Wood could feature, although he hasn’t bowled since the Middlesex match three weeks ago because of an ankle problem.
Durham were next to the bottom prior to their first win of the season against Lancashire last week but skipper Paul Collingwood said: “I knew our performances were improving and the first win was just around the corner.
“There is a saying that if you don’t improve ten per cent each year you are going backwards and I feel we’re ahead of that.
“We are stronger than last year but it really hurts if you lose a seam bowler during a match, which happened three times.
“I see what the players do in training every day and that to me is important. I’m delighted with the way the club is heading. As long as we have that culture we will keep winning.”
Following Stokes’ first tenwicket match haul against Sussex, Collingwood expects him to be in the England squad for the Test series against India, starting two days after the Yorkshire game.
“He changed the game in their first innings and his bowling was superb throughout,” he said. “He has bowled long spells and his fitness is top notch.
“I felt for him not being in the squad for the Sri Lanka Tests. I know he had been injured but after what he did in the winter he should have been given a bit of leeway.
“When you have a man who stands up to the Aussies like he did you need people like that in the team. Selectors need to be careful not to knock people’s confidence, but Ben is the type of character who wants to prove people wrong.”
Collingwood was happy with the pitch for the Sussex game and with the fact that umpires Nick Cook and Neil Bainton were prepared to change the balls.
“Balls are going soft and out of shape, but some umpires stick with them,” he said. “We benefited from the changes, but so did Sussex.
We got some good pace and carry on what was an excellent cricket wicket, more like the traditional Riverside pitch.
“I wasn’t sure what to do when I won the toss and the first hour was tricky. But after that we steadily built the pressure and having people score runs down the order is crucial.
“The amount of talent and skill among our young players is almost frightening.
Mark Stoneman and Scott Borthwick are batting superbly and Keaton Jennings has made a hundred here.
Paul Coughlin is the latest to come in and do a really good job. He shows a lot of promise with bat and ball.”
After topping the table following their three early wins Sussex have now slipped to third from the bottom and only James Tredwell, on loan from Kent, provided any resistance.
Resuming on 41, he edged Chris Rushworth’s second ball of the morning through the slips for four then drove the next to the cover boundary.
A single took him to 50 but without addition he was left stranded when Lewis Hatchett edged Rushworth to third slip. Sussex were all out for 182.
* Durham’s Usman Arshad has been reprimanded by the ECB.
He was reported by umpires Peter Hartley and Mike Burns during Durham’s Natwest T20 Blast match against Leicestershire on June 20 for a breach of the code (bowling a fast short pitched ball and/or accidental high full pitched ball that results in the bowler being disallowed from bowling any further in that innings).
At Emirates Durham ICG
Overnight: Durham 337 (M D Stoneman
113, J W Hastings 51; L J Hatchett5-113,
J Lewis 4-66) and 359-6 dec (K K
Jennings 103, S G Borthwick 95).
Sussex 205 (L J Wright 66 no; B A
Stokes 7-67) and 173-9 (J W Hastings
Sussex Second Innings
J C Tredwell not out ...............................50
L J Hatchett c Muchall b Rushworth .... 4
Extras (b8 lb2 w1 nb4 pens 0) 15
Total (48.5 overs).............. 182
Fall: 1-30 2-43 3-44 4-93 5-117 6-119
7-124 8-127 9-134
Total Bonus Pts: Durham 6 Sussex 4
Rushworth 10.5-1-37-2. Hastings 17-
5-47-4. Stokes 14-3-54-3. Couglin 7-1-
Durham (22pts) beat Sussex (4pts) by 309 runs