Scott Borthwick insists he still sees himself as a leg spinner more than a batsman after helping Durham retain their lead at the top of the County Championship table.
Borthwick too four wickets as Durham increased their lead at the top of the table to 29 points after their spinners ended Sussex’s dogged resistance at Arundel.
I prefer to take four or five wickets than score runs so it was nice to get a few here and play my part in helping us get a very important win.Scott Borthwick
Luke Wells’ first hundred of the season had helped take Sussex to 242 for 4 in their pursuit of an unlikely victory target of 514.
But instead of taking the new ball and trusting his much vaunted seam attack, skipper Paul Collingwood persisted with his spinners and was handsomely rewarded.
After off-spinner Ryan Pringle had ended Wells’ near five-hour resistance, leg break bowler Borthwick chipped in with four wickets as Durham won by 178 runs.
Borthwick was delighted with his contribution, and despite becoming a fixture at No 3 in the batting line-up, and plundering 1000 runs last season, he insists he still prefers taking wickets.
“I still think of myself as a leg spinner,” the Sunderland-born star said.
“I prefer to take four or five wickets than score runs so it was nice to get a few here and play my part in helping us get a very important win.
“We knew the last day would be hard work, judging by the way the wicket flattened out on the third day.
“But we took a couple of early wickets which helped and then after lunch it started to spin for myself and Ryan Pringle and we took advantage.”
Wells’ first hundred of the season – and ninth of his career – is only the fourth by a Sussex batsman in 2015.
It held Durham up but once had been unhinged after nearly five hours at the crease, victory was a certainty for Collingwood’s side.
He played fluently through the morning with some handsome straight drives among his 18 boundaries while an extra cover boundary off Borthwick took him to his century just before lunch.
Luke Wright gave him staunch support in a stand of 92 for the fifth wicket but Sussex subsided once again after Wells, pushing forward hesitantly to Pringle, was taken at slip, having faced 233 balls and hit 19 fours.
Borthwick has hardly bowled this season and it wasn’t until the 68th over that Collingwood called him into the attack but he soon made his mark. Four balls after Wells’ dismissal Borthwick dived low to his right to athletically intercept Wright’s crooked on-drive for 49.
Ajmal Shahzad was stumped as he came down the pitch and George Dockrell nicked behind as four wickets fell for 14 runs in 11.1 overs. Collingwood eventually took the new ball and Graham Onions had Steve Magoffin taken low down at third slip for a duck with the fifth ball.
But Durham encountered more resistance as Ben Brown, who made an unbeaten 60, and last man Tim Linley put on 64 in just over an hour for the last wicket before Borthwick was recalled and won an lbw verdict against Linley to condemn Sussex to their fifth defeat in six games.