REPORT: Eight points for Sussex as Day Four finally brings play12-May-2012
Sussex picked up eight points from their draw with Lancashire as they made 300 for 8 in reply to the visitors' 144 for 8 declared on the only day of play during the LV=County Championship Division One clash.
After three days with no play possible at The PROBIZ County Ground, Hove, the gorgeous sunshine allowed the outfield to dry out and the clash with the reigning champions finally got underway.
Sussex named one change in their side that drew with Warwickshire in the LV=CC two weeks ago. Naveed Arif Gondal replaced Amjad Khan whilst Lancashire could include Ajmal Shahzad for the first time since his loan move from Yorkshire.
The visitors won the toss and after electing to bat lost their first wicket in the eighth over, Stephen Moore almost helping Gondal down to deep fine leg where James Anyon took a fantastic catch diving to his left.
Fellow opener Paul Horton followed when Anyon got one to stop on him to take a return catch, before South African overseas star Ashwell Prince flashed at an awayswinger from Gondal to present Matt Prior with a regulation chance behind the stumps.
The steady runs-to-wickets ratio continued after lunch as Steve Magoffin got Steven Croft to edge to Ed Joyce in the slips whilst Karl Brown’s suicidal run to Gondal at mid-on resulted in the left-armer throwing down the stumps to leave the reigning champions 116 for 5.
Magoffin, Anyon and Gondal all squeezed out another wicket apiece before Lancashire called a halt to their innings, declaring on 144 for 8. With a batting point at 200 seemingly out of reach the visitors decided that bowling points were what they were after and Sussex took to the crease.
Chris Nash and Joyce put on 50 for the first wicket but the introduction of Shahzad seemed to change momentum. His first ball in Lancashire colours accounted for Joyce lbw whilst he also claimed Wells and Nash through the same method. Sajid Mahmood got in on the act as he encouraged Murray Goodwin to feather one behind to Gareth Cross and Sussex were reduced to 85 for 4 to hand the visitors a bowling point.
But this brought Prior and Michael Yardy to the crease who batted positively in a stand of 142 in 23 overs to take Sussex to their first target of 200 and a batting bonus point. Prior hit four sixes - two each off Chapple and Shahzad - on his way to an impressive 86 from 80 balls which also included five fours. The crowd were duly entertained by the partnership and it was just rewards for those supporters who had turned up earlier in the week, only for play not to begin.
Both batsmen were caught on the square-leg boundary off Mahmood but Joe Gatting's 42 off 25 balls ensured Sussex could declare with two balls of the day remaining when they had gained their third batting bonus point.
So a full day's play was just what was needed after a frustrating three days at Hove. Sussex collect eight valuable points for their efforts with Lancashire getting five as the match finished in a draw. Sussex are back in action at The PROBIZ tomorrow when the Unicorns are the visitors in the Clydesdale Bank 40 (1.45pm start).