Wickets tumble as Sussex and Gloucs vie for control

The County Ground / Picture by PW Sporting Photography
The County Ground / Picture by PW Sporting Photography

Sussex and Gloucestershire made up for lost time when their Specsavers County Championship Division Two match resumed at Hove on Saturday.

Just 21 overs had been bowled on the opening day, when no wickets fell. But 22 went down on the second day and Sussex, 51 for two in their second innings, lead by 13.

At the start of the day Sussex had been bowled out for 145, losing all 10 wickets for 59 runs in 26 overs before lunch, with Ryan Higgins taking a career-best five for 21. Luke Wright, who was dropped twice, was Sussex’s top scorer in the session with 13.

There was some encouragement from the lively pitch, and the overcast conditions suited the bowlers too. But a number of batsmen also perished by their own careless hands.

Luke Wells had added just two runs to his overnight 25 when he was caught behind playing forward to Higgins. In the same bowler’s next over Phil Salt, 54 not out overnight, skied to long leg for 63.

The wickets continued to tumble. Stiaan van Zyl was caught in the gully off Higgins, Harry Finch was caught behind off Daniel Worrall and captain Ben Brown was lbw to Worrall for a second ball duck; 105 for five.

Mark Burgess and Ollie Robinson, rashly, were caught in the slips from successive deliveries with the score on at 116, both off Higgins, and it was 117 for eight when Wiese lost his leg stump to Matt Taylor. Briggs and Wright had a final fling but Gloucestershire still had time to face one over before lunch.

Sussex broke through with the score on 27, when Chris Dent dragged on a delivery from Robinson, losing his middle stump.

A vigorous innings from Benny Howell, who had hit star Sussex signing Ishant Sharma for three fours in four balls, came to an end when he was lbw to one that moved into him from David Wiese. Sharma was taken out of the attack after his first three overs cost 32. Robinson struck again when he bowled James Bracey for 15 and it was 102 for four when Robinson took his third wicket, having Gareth Roderick lbw for 23 as the batsman shuffled forward.

At tea Gloucestershire were still well placed at 104 for four. But Jack Taylor, hooking as he took his eye off the ball, was caught at long leg; 107 for five. Gloucestershire were not even sure of gaining a first innings lead when Craig Miles was eighth out at 144. But some firm blows from Kieran Noema-Barnett (31) gave his side a fist innings advantage of 38. Wiese (five for 48) and Robinson (four for 67) were the best Sussex bowlers.

When Sussex batted again, in the best conditions of the day, Salt had his middle stump plucked out by Higgins for a second ball duck. And Wells was bowled by Noema-Barnett for 22 with the last ball of the day.

Wiese said: “I’ve not been in a side that’s been bowled out in a session before. We certainly weren’t expecting that. It’s a one innings game now. The ball did more the older it got. The pitch is now as slow as it normally is. And the ball nibbled around a bit. As a batsman you feel in until one suddenly gets you. It was a strange day. We bowled better after tea. For them, Ryan Higgins put in a decent spell."