Sep 19 2008 by Jeff Bowron, Evening Chronicle
WEST Indies star Shivnarine Chanderpaul hit a masterful century, his first of the season for Durham, to put the title-chasing Riversiders in pole position against Sussex.
Chanderpaul hit a 134-ball century, which included 12 fours, as Durham made up for lost time following a first-day washout at Chester-le-Street.
The newly-crowned ICC Cricketer of the Year had struggled after replacing Neil McKenzie as Durham’s overseas player.
However, the 34-year-old returned to form with 93 in the previous match against Somerset – and he was imperious in Durham’s last home game of a rain-ravaged summer.
An unbroken stand of 182 with the recalled Gareth Breese led to Durham resuming today on 325-4 – and set to claim maximum batting points.
Coach Geoff Cook said: “Cricket has been Shiv’s life since the age of 14. He loves to score runs and has been disappointed with the way it’s gone for him in the Championship until last week’s game at Taunton.
“The earlier guys laid the platform by seeing off the new ball and, with the wicket pretty flat, Shiv and Gareth Breese capitalised with a great partnership.
“Shiv showed what a class batsman he is and Gareth vindicated the decision to pick him for his first Championship game of the year with an impressive half-century.
“We are now in a strong position and will attempt to get to 400 to claim maximum batting points, and then try and bowl Sussex out to take the three bowling points.
“Taking 20 wickets in less than two days to claim a win will be difficult, but we have the most aggressive bowler in the country in Steve Harmison.
“He did serious damage at Sussex in not dissimilar conditions, and if we can take a few key wickets we can build up momentum.
“We will give it a real go, but if we come out with 12 points in a good draw it will leave everything to play for in next week’s final game at Canterbury.”
Chanderpaul came to the crease in the 33rd over with Durham on 94-2 after stand-in opener Ben Harmison had been bowled by Mohammed Sami for 30.
Michael Di Venuto had earlier been trapped leg before by seamer Jason Lewry, and Durham were soon three down when a lavish off-drive saw Will Smith edge to Sussex wicket-keeper Matt Prior.
Smith had made 23 and captain Dale Benkenstein managed six more than Smith before he suffered a similar feat, paying the price for an expansive shot off Lewry.
For Chanderpaul it was payback time for a series of below-par scores for Durham this year and, with tremendous back-up from Breese, he took the game by the scruff of the neck.
An unflappable approach and the ability to nudge the ball into gaps on a good wicket saw the wristy Chanderpaul take centre stage.
Breese proved the perfect foil and deservedly claimed a half-century.
However, with title rivals Kent and Nottinghamshire both set to record victories and Somerset scoring 380 in the first innings against Yorkshire, the pressure is on Durham to force a victory over the next two days.
SCOREBOARD: Durham 325-4 off 90 overs (S Chanderpaul 130no, G Breese 63no, M Di Venuto 34, J Lewry 2-53, M Sami 2-71).
:: CORBRIDGE go into the final weekend of the Three Counties Northumberland League Premier Division campaign tomorrow holding an eight-point lead over Alnmouth and Lesbury.
Stocksfield, a further four points behind Alnmouth, are also in with shout of the title in an exciting finale.
Source: Chronicle Live