Durham back on track
Blackwell and Stokes finish off Kent on final morning
Last Updated: 20/05/10 2:50pm
Blackwell: saw Durham home despite requiring runner
Durham completed their second County Championship win of the season with few alarms on the fourth morning against Kent at Canterbury.
Resuming at 67-3 in pursuit of a target of 169, Dale Benkenstein and Ian Blackwell extended their fourth-wicket stand to 80.
Benkenstein was caught at slip for 49 from a sliced drive at Robert Ferley's left-arm spin with 52 still needed but Ben Stokes (42no) joined Blackwell (53no) to finish the match in a flurry of boundaries 40 minutes before lunch.
Stokes, 18, finished it to win it in style with a six and five fours in the only
over of the day from part-time leg-spinner Joe Denly, taking his match tally to an unbeaten 203 in the process and leaving Kent still without a win after 11 starts in all forms of cricket this season.
The six-wicket victory was a welcome boost for two-time defending champions Durham in Phil Mustard's first game in charge after taking over from Will Smith, who agreed to step down following a disappointing start to the season.
The one sour note for the north-east county was an injury to Blackwell, who pulled his left calf muscle attempting a quick single and finished his innings with a runner.
Durham look favourites to clinch victory at Canterbury after Kent suffered a second-innings collapse against the reigning Division One champions.
Resuming on 347 for six, the visitors were eventually bowled out for 418 in their first innings with Ben Stokes ending up unbeaten on 161.
The talented teenager received little support from the lower order, though, as Makhaya Ntini claimed five for 84 and Amjad Khan three for 81.
However the game suddenly moved on at a pace when Kent - who had a slender six-run lead after the first innings - were skittled out for just 162.
Martin van Jaarsveld offered the only real resistance with 44 before he became one of two wickets for Steve Harmison, but it was Durham's spinners who did the majority of the damage as the hosts folded in 49.5 overs.
Ian Blackwell picked up three for 35 while promising leggie Scott Borthwick removed Rob Ferley and Simon Cook to finish with two for 22.
Set 169 to clinch their second LV County Championship win of the campaign, Durham slipped to 37 for three before Dale Benkenstein (24 not out) and Blackwell (18no) saw them through to the close with another 102 required.
Durham's Dale Benkenstein and Ben Stokes made contrasting hundreds on Tuesday as the defending champions held their own against fellow strugglers Kent in Canterbury.
As former South African one-day international Benkenstein played the tortoise - his hundred taking almost four hours in all - England Under-19 starlet Stokes became the hare.
Having made 106 against Nottinghamshire six days earlier, Stokes compiled a sumptuous career-best 122 not out on Tuesday to move Durham on to 347 for six, within 77 runs of Kent's first innings total.
Makhaya Ntini, Azhar Mahmood and Amjad Khan restricted the visitors to only 67 runs in the 28 overs through to lunch, with the South African (three for 58) claiming the scalps of Kyle Coetzer (12) and Scott Borthwick (2).
Having earlier seen Michael Di Venuto dropped, Rob Ferley eventually removed the Australian left-hander after lunch but only after the latter had contributed 67 to a third-wicket stand of 118 with Benkenstein.
Stokes then made hay as he and Benkenstein (114) posted 143 for the fifth wicket before the latter shouldered arms to Amjad Khan's first delivery with the new ball and lost his off stump - the 18-year-old left-hander still occupying the crease at stumps having hit 15 fours and two sixes.
Kent captain Rob Key hammered 261 against Durham as the hosts made 424 on the opening day of their LV County Championship match at Canterbury.
The former England batsman dominated the day's proceedings despite the efforts of Steve Harmison, who ripped out the other four specialist batsmen with some delightful bowling.
Key lost his opening partner Joe Denly in the third over, Harmison inducing an edge to wicketkeeper Phil Mustard. Geraint Jones was also back in the pavilion with the score on 10, edging to Michael Di Venuto at second slip.
But Key then dominated a third wicket partnership of 117 with Martin van Jaarsveld, the South African making 33 before Harmison struck again just after lunch, Dale Benkenstein taking the catch.
Former Pakistan international Azhar Mahmood (43) dug in to put on 106 with Key, who added a further 42 with Alex Blake, the latter making 31 of them before Ben Harmison had him caught behind.
Key brought up his third first-class double hundred off 223 balls before slogging the ball to all parts. The end to his knock finally came when he was bowled by Ben Harmison with the light fading.