Durham went 14.5 points clear at the top of the LV= County Championship Division One after beating a much-depleted Sussex side by 285 runs inside three days at Chester-le-Street.
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Graham Onions, Usman Arshad and Mitch Claydon all took three wickets as Sussex followed their 112 in the first innings by subsiding for 116 second time around.
They can still take a hand in the destiny of the title as they play second-placed Yorkshire next week and finish their programme at home to Durham.
After losing Chris Jordan, Luke Wright and Ed Joyce to the Ireland's one-day international against England, plus Matt Machan to Scotland, Sussex will be much stronger next week.
Arshad took three for 18 after starting the day by helping Phil Mustard take 32 off the first three overs as Durham sought to get the lead up from the overnight 345 to 400.
They achieved that in 40 minutes, although Mustard holed out at deep mid-on for 73 and Arshad at deep square leg for 34, both off James Anyon, giving him four wickets in each innings. Claydon made 12 not out before Durham declared on 268 for eight, leaving Sussex 402 for victory.
Luke Wells turned the second ball of Sussex's second innings through square leg for four then pushed forward to the next and edged Onions to second slip.
There seemed to be few problems in the next 15 overs for Chris Nash and Mike Yardy, but once Claydon struck in the first over of a spell for the third time in the match the resistance crumbled.
Nine runs came off his first five balls but then he went round the wicket and had Yardy (25) lbw with a ball of almost yorker length.
Nash went on to score 38 before he too was trapped in front by an on-song Claydon, who then had Rory Hamilton-Brown caught behind in his next over.
Joe Gatting made a paltry five off 24 balls before edging Arshad behind, while the 20-year-old seamer took two wickets in as many balls by having first-class debutant Harry Finch and Will Beer - who bagged a pair - trapped in front.
Steve Magoffin cracked three fours in making 20 off 16 balls before falling to Onions as Durham went on to claim their third successive championship victory.