Stiaan van Zyl of Sussex scored an unbeaten century to inflict a second Specsavers County Championship Division Two defeat of the season on Durham, losing by six wickets at Emirates Riverside

Beginning the final day on 144-3, the visitors still had a challenge to score the 68 runs that would carry them over the line on a gloomy morning. Van Zyl continued his brilliant knock, defying the hosts with a resilient performance before upping the ante.

Laurie Evans did offer a chance in the morning session when he drilled a Chris Rushworth delivery straight to Jack Burnham at cover. A wicket could have exposed Sussex's batting line-up, but Burnham failed to grasp the opportunity - epitomising his side's performance over the course of the match.

Evans made the most of his second life, reaching 50 from 104 deliveries. Van Zyl then reached three figures with a nudge down to fine leg. Salisbury removed Evans for 51, but Ben Brown knocked off the winning runs to guide Sussex over the line.

Durham will be frustrated by the manner of their defeat, failing to capitalise on advantageous positions in the match.

They reduced the visitors to 71-7 in their first innings following fine bowling from James Weighell and Rushworth. However, Wells, who played the innings of the match with an unbeaten 98, managed to grind out 131 runs for the final three wickets, bringing Sussex within 22 runs of Durham's first-innings total.

After losing quick wickets on the morning of day three, Durham appeared to be grinding out a solid partnership with Gareth Harte and Ned Eckersley at the crease. However, after scoring back-to-back boundaries, Eckersley smashed a delivery from medium-pacer Tom Haines straight at Evans.

The wicket sparked a collapse as Liam Trevaskis and Ben Raine fell within the space of three deliveries. Although Harte combined with the Durham lower order, the target of 212 set for the visitors was always going to be vulnerable to one significant partnership.

After losing Phil Salt and Haines, Wells and Van Zyl combined with a stand of 83 to see off the threat of the new ball and make significant inroads.

Matt Salisbury did give Durham brief hope when he dismissed Wells for 41. Van Zyl continued to thwart the home side, reaching his 50 from 88 deliveries, while Evans provided a good foil at the other end to whittle down the target.

Sussex picked their moments to find the boundary and displayed composure. Van Zyl was the foundation of their success, reaching his century from 149 deliveries.

Durham coach James Franklin admitted: "We've had our chances there's no two ways about it. The game against Derbyshire we had them five down in the first session, and here we had Sussex 70-7. To end up on the losing side in both of those games is disappointing. The guys are hurting about that. We've had batting collapses as well, which is not great fun either. We've got plenty of scope to improve.

"It has been evident in our four innings this season that when we lose one, we can lose two or three quite quickly. Whether or not that is a little bit of reminiscence of what has been happening the last couple of years and we're suffering a hangover of that. I'm not too sure. What we can do now is reflect on how we want to go about our Championship cricket.

"We've got a nice break now into our one-day cricket. We've got a whole campaign there to quickly get our minds focused on in the next couple of days. When we get back to Championship cricket in May, we've got to be very clear on what we're about because these first two games aren't good enough."