Durham 131 for 6 (Stoneman 52, Magoffin 3 for 29) trail Sussex 211 (Brown 76*, Wernars 50, Thorp 3-57) by 80 runs Scorecard
A fluent unbeaten 76 by Ben Brown and superb bowling by Steve Magoffin helped Sussex to step up their bid for second place in the County Championship on the first day against Durham at Chester-le-Street.
Brown went in with his side on 67 for 5 and helped them to 211 then Magoffin opened up with 3 for 19 in 10 overs. Durham recovered from 65 for 4 through a stand of 53 between Mark Stoneman and Paul Collingwood when the Australian seamer returned for a further five overs.
But it was Monty Panesar who lifted the day's tally of wickets to 16 by taking 2 for 4 in five overs as Durham closed on 131 for 6. Collingwood tried to hit his former England team-mate over the top and was caught at mid-on for 19, then Stoneman edged to Mike Yardy at slip.
Stoneman was the only batsman on either side able to counter the new ball as the left-handed opener made 53, despite batting for half his innings with a runner after suffering a hamstring injury.
Despite having more at stake than Durham, it was Sussex who took the opportunity to give experience to a few youngsters. Neither Murray Goodwin nor Matt Prior was included, while Ed Joyce is with the Ireland squad preparing for the World Twenty20 and Luke Wright is with England. The team included 21-year-old batsman Matt Machan, left-arm swing bowler Lewis Hatchett, South African allrounder Kirk Wernars and 6ft 9in allrounder Will Adkin.
After losing the toss, acting captain Chris Nash drove at the seventh ball and edged to first slip as Chris Rushworth opened up with an excellent spell. Graham Onions struggled at the other end, but when he switched he quickly took two wickets.
Callum Thorp was the first to strike from the Finchale End, having Luke Wells caught behind for 25, although the left-hander clearly did not agree with the decision. Once the ball stopped swinging batting became relatively easy and Brown and Wernars put on 106.
Durham needed a run out to make the breakthrough. Brown had just reached 50 off 59 balls when he drove into the covers and went for a run, only for Wernars to be stranded by Michael Richardson's diving stop. Wernars was three short of his career-best on 50. Brown looked very comfortable and timed the ball superbly in making his runs off 102 balls with 13 fours.
Durham also scored fluently against all bowlers other than Magoffin and Panesar, but it was Hatchett who struck first when Keaton Jennings padded up to his sixth ball and fell lbw.
Richardson was Magoffin's first victim, lbw third ball, and the other two were both bowled. Ben Stokes was beaten on the drive and Dale Benkenstein played back defensively to a ball which trimmed his off bail.