LV County Championship - Division One
Hove - Day Three
Sussex 214 (C D Nash 75, R J Hamilton-Brown 62, B W Harmison 4-43) & 212 (M J Prior 133 no, S J Harmison 4-75, C D Thorp 4-77) v Durham 301 (D M Benkenstein 110, W R Smith 107, C D Collymore 4-51, J D Lewry 4-56) & 126-3 (M J Di Venuto 60)
Durham (20pts) beat Sussex (4pts) by 7 wkts
A hat-trick from Steve Harmison helped inflict a first LV County Championship defeat of the season on Sussex as Durham won by seven wickets at Hove.
Acting captain Matt Prior produced a sparkling 133 not out, but Sussex were let down by fragile second innings batting at the top of the order and they were bowled out for 212 - Harmison taking 4-75 and Callum Thorp 4-77.
The fine bowling display from the visitors left Durham needing only 126 to win and Michael Di Venuto set them up with a hard hitting 60 after Jason Lewry struck early on to remove Phil Mustard for a duck and first innings centurion Will Smith for nine.
Former Sussex batsman Di Venuto perished with just 22 runs required when his miscued an attempted pull off Sussex all-rounder Luke Wright.
But Neil McKenzie (41no) and skipper Dale Benkenstein (7no) eased Durham home with a day to spare as the title holders suffered their first championship home defeat since the last game of the 2004 season.
Prior reminded the England selectors of his undoubted ability with the bat earlier in the day as he responded with a belligerent third century of the season which included 16 fours and five sixes from 138 balls.
However, the Sussex gloveman's heroics were quashed as fellow England hopeful Harmison stole the show as he reduced the hosts to 138-8 with the second hat-trick of his career and the first at Hove for seven years.
Harmison, working up a fiery pace down the slope, broke through by having Rory Hamilton-Brown (7) caught behind and Robin Martin-Jenkins was also taken at the wicket first ball before former Pakistani leg-spinner Mushtaq Ahmed was comprehensively bowled.
Centuries from captain Dale Benkenstein and Will Smith saw Durham recover from 11-4 and reach a total of 301, the visitors in the process gaining a first innings lead of 87 over Sussex at Hove.
Resuming on 10-3, Durham made the worst possible start when Corey Collymore picked up the wicket of Neil McKenzie without addition.
But Benkenstein then joined Smith - who was dropped having made nine - to add a superb 205 in 49 overs for the fifth wicket.
Benkenstein reached his 28th first-class 100, compiling eight boundaries on the way, and the pair were 17 short of equalling Durham's highest ever fifth wicket stand when Mushtaq Ahmed finally trapped the skipper lbw for 110.
The patient Smith moved to his first championship hundred for Durham shortly before tea but, on 107, his vigil was ended by Mushtaq who had him caught at square leg attempting to sweep.
Nevertheless, a patient 34 from Ben Harmison helped Durham to a third batting point before he was comprehensively bowled by Collymore, who finished with figures of 4-51.
Sussex were quickly in trouble batting again, the champions losing openers Chris Nash and Carl Hopkinson by the close as they struggled to 15-2, still 72 runs behind.
England fast bowler Steve Harmison shrugged off a slight foot injury to have Nash caught at the wicket, before Callum Thorp bowled Hopkinson.
Sussex paceman Corey Collymore dismissed Michael Di Venuto (4) and night-watchman Mark Davies (0) as Durham faltered in reply to Sussex's laboured 214 in their LV County Championship Division One clash at Hove.
Mark Stoneman (3) also fell to a slip catch off Jason Lewry as the visitors - beaten in six of their previous eight Championship meetings against Sussex - closed on 10-3.
After stand-in captain Matt Prior won the toss and chose to bat, Sussex were hit by a career best 4-43 from Ben Harmison while his elder brother Steve claimed figures of 3-35.
The champions quickly lost half their side for 79, with a sixth-wicket stand of 84 between opener Chris Nash (75) and debutant Rory Hamilton-Brown (62) a rare highlight.
However, Luke Wright (15) and Robin Martin-Jenkins (22 not out) were the only other batsmen to make double figures.