Durham 385 (Latham 77, Steel 73, Clark 73*, Robinson 4-69) and 5 for 0 require a further 259 to beat Sussex 346 (Wells 122, van Zyl 92, Rushworth 4-64, Jennings 3-37) and 302 (Salt 72, Wells 58)
Sussex youngster Phil Salt gave his side the chance of a final day victory against Durham at Chester-le-Street with a classy innings of 72.
In only his seventh first-class match the 21-year-old Wales-born right-hander batted very responsibly after a cavalier start as Sussex totalled 302 in their second innings.
Needing 264 to win, Durham had faced three of the scheduled nine overs when bad light intervened. The out-of-form Keaton Jennings took the score to five with Tom Latham, who would have been lbw second ball had Chris Jordan not overstepped.
Sussex, who trailed by 39 in the first innings, slipped from 101 without loss to 177 for five. But Salt, who had a previous best of 46, scored 11 off his first four balls and was ably assisted by wicketkeeper Michael Burgess, Ollie Robinson and Jordan.
Salt’s was the second career-best of the day following Brydon Carse’s unbeaten 61 for Durham. Resuming on 21, the South Africa-born paceman picked up both Stuart Whittingham and George Garton behind square for six.
He dominated a stand of 84 with Graham Clark, who moved on from his overnight 73 to 88 before a ball from Jordan skidded on to have him lbw.
When Jordan rested it took only one gentle loosener for Robinson to complete a five-wicket haul. Chris Rushworth clipped it straight to square leg but Robinson, who had a sore side the previous evening after bowling 25 overs, sent down just the one more to finish with 5 for 69. Jordan had 2 for 77 from 31, while Garton and Whittingham were twice as expensive, conceding more than five an over.
Whittingham picked up his only wicket when last man Graham Onions spooned to extra cover and Durham were all out for 385.
The lead was quickly wiped out by Sussex’s acting captain Luke Wells and Harry Finch, who had 50 on the board in 11 overs to lunch and looked even more comfortable in adding a further 50.
Both were playing away from their bodies with limited foot movement when they edged catches. Finch was first to go for 37, James Weighell claiming the first of his three wickets with his second ball.
Following his 258 at Hove and 122 in the first innings here, Wells again batted impressively to make 58 and take his season’s tally against Durham to 438.
Laurie Evans made only four before edging a loose shot off Weighell, who bowled well for five overs before straying in the next two. His seventh cost 15 and gave Salt his flying start.
Luke Wright fell lbw to the first ball of off-spinner Ryan Pringle’s second spell, a long hop which barely left the ground to defeat an attempted pull.
Stiaan van Zyl was also unlucky, being caught down the leg side by wicketkeeper Michael Richardson off Onions after cruising to 45. Salt was eighth out when he got a big inside edge into his stumps trying to run Jennings to third man.
Jordan’s attempts to protect the last two proved futile as left-hander Garton was bowled by a sharp leg break from Cameron Steel and Whittingham was run out when called back for a second to deep mid-wicket.