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Luke Wells on his way to an unbeaten 79 against Somerset when he carried his bat in Sussex's first innings

First Man Standing

Throwback Thursday

01-May-2014

It is the hallmark of a top batsman – defying the opposition's attack while wickets are falling like nine pins at the other end.

This week at Hove, left-hander Luke Wells did something that has only been achieved eight times by a Sussex opening batsman in the last 30 years - he carried his bat through an entire innings.

Wells, 23, made 79 – more than half Sussex's total runs in the first innings – to become the first Sussex batsman to carry his bat for a decade.

It's a fairly rare occurrence throughout cricket history because opening the batting is considered the hardest job in the team. Openers have to face fresh bowlers armed with a new ball sometimes during a short passage of play at the end of the day when the opposition give it their all.

It is one of the most coveted roles in the side but it becomes even more of a test of concentration and technique when wickets are falling regularly at the other end, as happened to Wells earlier this week.

The last Sussex batsman to carry his bat before him was Richard Montgomerie against Lancashire back in 2004. ‘Monty' actually did it twice in his Sussex career and so, in the last three decades, has Bill Athey. Looking back further into the history books, Sussex's all-time leading run scorer John Langridge carried his bat three times in the post-war years whilst another county legend, Harry Parks, did so in successive games at the Eastbourne Festival in 1946 and 1947.

It's a great one for cricket's army of statisticians who nearly had an even rarer event to tick off this week. No two Sussex batsmen have ever carried their bat in the same game but Ed Joyce was just seven short of his hundred in the second innings against Somerset when he was dismissed.

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