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REPORT: Northants bowlers dominate on day two


Following-on and 220 runs in arrears, Sussex find themselves in a parlous position at the end of day two of their Specsavers County Championship match against Northamptonshire at Wantage Road.

A fine Northants bowling performance saw Sussex dismissed for 172 in their first innings, after the home side had earlier added 97 to their overnight score

Starting the day on 329-5, Northants made it to 401 without further loss, before Ollie Robinson and David Wiese combined to take the final five wickets for 25 runs, secure maximum bowling points and lift Sussex spirits.

Robinson, bowling with pace and accuracy, started the collapse by removing Luke Procter and David Murphy in successive overs, before taking the ninth wicket when he clean-bowled Rory Kleinveldt with a peach of a delivery.

Wiese, who as the pick of the Sussex bowlers was unfortunate not to do more damage on day one, was compensated with the scalps of Josh Cobb and last-man Mohammad Azharullah as Northants were dismissed for 426 on the stroke of lunch.

Wiese finished with 3-66, whilst Robinson’s 4-81 means that he has taken 11 wickets in three innings since returning from a lengthy lay-off.

Sussex got off to a positive start in their reply, with openers Angus Robson and Luke Wells putting on 46 inside 13 overs, but they departed within 13 balls of each other to put Sussex in early trouble at 48-2.

Having looked fluent during his 38 ball 33, Robson was a touch unlucky in playing on when defending a Kleinveldt delivery on the back foot.

Chris Nash and Stiaan van Zyl put on 53 for the third wicket but were separated when Nash received a beauty from Azharullah that he feathered behind with his score on 30.

With Sussex 116-3 at tea, the game was in the balance. They knew, however, that they would require at least one, probably two, of their remaining batsmen to make a sizeable score if they were to get close to Northants’ first innings total. 

Such an innings never materialised, however, as an excellent spell from Kleinveldt and some sharp turn from Simon Kerrigan prompted the loss of seven Sussex wickets for 49 runs.

Jofra Archer offered brief cheer when he slog-swept Kerrigan for two consecutive sixes on his way to an unbeaten 16, but by then the damage had been done.
There is no doubt that Sussex will have been disappointed to fold in this manner, but Kleinveldt was superb in exploiting the full-length best suited to this Wantage Road strip and Kerrigan conjured two bewitching deliveries from the footholds to get rid of van Zyl and Chris Jordan.

With two days still to play, it was no surprise when Sussex were invited to bat again. Luke Wells went early to give Kleinveldt his sixth wicket of the day, before Angus Robson and Stiaan van Zyl watchfully saw Sussex to 34-1 when bad light ended play. 

Speaking at the close, Ben Brown gave an honest performance of his team's performance: “It’s been two pretty bad days for us, we haven’t got into the game at all and now we’re up against a tough fight.

“Not many would have seen the pitch as a bat first yesterday but the ball got soft in a wet outfield and we just didn’t bowl well.

“They bowled outstandingly well, we didn’t play many poor shots but you have to find a way to compete."

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