By David Clough, PA Sport
Shivnarine Chanderpaul’s first Durham hundred could hardly have come at a better time – and was just reward for the endeavour of a man who “lives to score runs”.
That was the verdict of coach Geoff Cook today, after Chanderpaul’s unbeaten 130 had carried LV County Championship Division One title hopefuls Durham to 325 for four against champions Sussex by stumps at Riverside.
The world number one batsman’s unbroken fifth-wicket stand of 182 with Gareth Breese (63no) helped Durham make up for some of the time lost to their championship rivals when the first day was washed out.
With time short – there are only six days left in the season – Durham cannot afford to concede any more ground.
Cook is realistic enough to acknowledge victory here is a long shot on an unusually flat Chester-le-Street pitch.
But hoping for a maximum-points draw, he is delighted for Chanderpaul – irrespective of the result.
“He’s genuinely been disappointed that he hasn’t been able to help Durham’s cause a little bit more than he has done,” Cook said of the West Indies Test batsman.
“Cricket is his life, and it has been since the age of 14. He comes and practises every day – and he just lives to score runs.
“When he hasn’t been doing that, he’s been very disappointed – so it’s nice for him as an individual and a smashing person to be making some now.”
Should Chanderpaul’s return to form continue into next week – Durham face fellow silverware candidates Kent at Canterbury – it may prove to be rich vindication of the money spent on him.
“It’s perfect. That’s what you want from your top players, your big players, to contribute at the crucial times,” Cook added.
Today’s progress was a relief to a team who had to watch others jockey advantageous positions in this penultimate round of matches, while the mopping-up began at Riverside.
“It’s frustrating when you’re stuck watching scores from other games, and the relevant teams are going strongly,” said Cook.
“But we just have to keep a perspective of what is happening here.
“If we can’t win it we need to get a decent draw, 11 or 12 points, and that keeps us in touch and still in with a chance with one game to go.”
Source: Sporting Life