Match Preview - Lancashire v Sussex
Lancashire v Sussex
Specsavers County Championship, Division Two
Emirates Old Trafford
Saturday July 13 - Tuesday 16, 11am
Lancashire head into this weekend’s clash with an up and down Sussex side on the back of their worst performance of season, against Northamptonshire at Wantage Road.
But the good news is that their unbeaten record remains in tact after nine games, and they have returned to the top of the Division Two table. With that, the Red Rose are very much in the driving seat for, more importantly, promotion and the second tier title.
They face a Sussex side whose coaching team has a Lancashire link in assistant Jason Swift was the club’s former analyst and fielding coach prior to leaving in 2011 to go to Bangladesh with Stuart Law. Swift, an Australian former league cricketer in Bolton, spent six years as part of the backroom staff at Emirates Old Trafford.
Swift is now assisting Jason Gillespie at Hove, although it hasn’t been a smooth sailing season for a side many people expected to be a certain promotion challenger with the Red Rose.
They sit fourth in the table with two wins from nine.
Back in 2006 and 2007, these two counties were battling hard for the Division One title, with Sussex coming out on top. But the two sides haven’t met in Championship cricket since the 2014 season.
This will be Lancashire’s 10th four-day match of the season and the last before the break for the Vitality Blast, which kicks off next week.
Sussex will be without seamer Ollie Robinson having been called up by the England Lions for their clash with Australia A at Canterbury, a clash which Saqib Mahmood was supposed to play in before suffering an abdominal injury in the Championship clash with Northants.
The Red Rose continue to be without Jimmy Anderson (calf), Liam Livingstone (intercostal) and Tom Bailey (knee).
Toby Lester has been recalled from his loan spell with Warwickshire.
Sussex were beaten at home by Northants in their last match, the week before. last, by 393 runs. It was their heaviest defeat by runs against county opposition. Coach Jason Gillespie described it as an unacceptable performance.
Captained by wicketkeeper batsman Ben Brown, they have beaten Durham in April and then Middlesex by an innings at the start of June.
But they have lost to the likes of Leicestershire and Northants to undermine their bid for promotion.
Sussex haven’t played Division One cricket since 2015.
Brown is the third most prolific batsman in Division Two with three centuries in 715 runs from nine appearances, while absent Robinson is the division’s second most prolific bowlers with 40 wickets. He has been reinvigorated at Hove since being sacked by Yorkshire for general misdemeanours such as turning up at the wrong ground for a second-team game in 2014.
Others to watch out for are South African Kolpak batsman Stiaan van Zyl (608 runs), Pakistan overseas fast bowler Mir Hamza (20 wickets) and international all-rounders David Wiese (20 wickets and 308 runs) and Chris Jordan (19 wickets and 384 runs).
At Hove in September 2014, a Division One fixture, Lancashire were beaten by seven wickets despite posting over 300 in both innings and went on to be relegated.
Luke Procter’s unbeaten 81 was the feature of 320 all out having been inserted, but Sussex captain Ed Joyce hit a superb 137 in reply as the hosts posted 434 early in on day three.
Ashwell Prince and Steven Croft then hit 85 and 87 as the Red Rose were bowled out for 364, setting a target of 251 after lunch on day four.
Unfortunately, however, despite the inclusion of Jimmy Anderson in Lancashire’s team alongside captain Glen Chapple, Joyce starred again with 79 to secure a win inside 47 overs.
WHAT THEY SAID
Josh Bohannon is in confident mood regarding his game at the moment, which kind of mirrors Lancashire’s overall feeling after an impressive start to the summer.
The Red Rose, after nine Championship games, sit top of the Division Two table by seven points from second-placed Glamorgan. More importantly, they are 35 points clear of fourth-placed Sussex in the race for a top three finish and promotion.
All-rounder Bohannon, 22, is enjoying an impressive season having scored 225 runs from six games with five wickets added. He is averaging 56.25 with the bat, owing much to scores of 98 not out and 65 not out, the latter in the second innings of this week’s draw at Northants.
Bohannon batted at five in both innings: “It’s nice to get an opportunity up the order after a few runs,” he said. “To finish the final day 60 odd not out is pleasing for me.”
On the team’s situation, he said: “Things are looking good.
“To be honest, I think we’ve been a bit unlucky with the weather this year. There’s been three performances where we’ve been in winning positions in my opinion and have drawn through the weather. There’s nothing we can do about that.
“We’re top of the log, we’re working hard and are playing well. Sussex are a tough side, but we’ll keep playing our cricket. After next week it will have been nine back-to-back games, which is tough. So every credit to the bowlers.”