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Bowlers lead fightback on even first day against Sussex

Bowlers lead fightback on even first day against Sussex

Lancashire’s bowlers fought back well after Sussex made a bright start to this LV= County Championship match at Hove.

Aaron Thomason and Stiaan van Zyl posted an excellent century partnership for the second wicket after home captain Ben Brown had won the toss, but the Red Rose attack made significant inroads during the afternoon and evening, with Tom Bailey leading the way taking three wickets, to restrict the hosts to 315-7.

Sussex however will likely be frustrated that several of their batsmen got good starts but failed to go on to reach three figures on an even and hard-fought day.

Both teams made changes to their line-ups with Lancashire including Saqib Mahmood and Liam Livingstone, who has returned early from the Indian Premier League, replacing Rob Jones and Luke Wood, the latter rested as the bowling attack continued to be rotated over the opening weeks of the season.

It was a similar story for the hosts with Stuart Meaker returning to replace current Championship leading wicket-taker Ollie Robinson alongside seamer Jamie Atkins making his first-class debut.

Dane Vilas took over behind the stumps for this match with Alex Davies appearing with strapping on a couple of fingers following a knock in last week’s match at Kent.

It was Bailey who made an early breakthrough, finding a bit of movement to bowl Thomason for 0 in the third over while Mahmood regularly beat the bat and was unlucky to have Tom Haines dropped on 26 in the slips.

Two runs later Haines had further good fortune inside edging Bailey narrowly past his stumps when the fast bowler returned for a second spell.

But Haines, who scored a century when the teams met at Emirates Old Trafford three weeks ago, formed a good partnership with van Zyl to help the hosts recover from that start.

Both batsmen counter-attached well, seizing on anything short or wide as the Red Rose attack strayed more often than they would have liked.

Van Zyl hit the first six of the day when coming down the wicket to Parkinson in the 21st over, and the Sussex pair played some fine shots in striking 14 boundaries during the morning to post half centuries and reach lunch well placed on 108-1.

The Lancashire bowlers responded with a much better effort after the break and were rewarded by the wickets of both batsmen, albeit with contrasting deliveries.

Haines departed for 58 after fencing at a good length Mahmood delivery that left him and was edged to wicketkeeper Vilas to break a 133-run partnership.

Five overs later van Zyl followed after the batting all-rounder cut a long hop outside off stump from Livingstone straight to Luke Wells at backward point to fall for 79 and leave Sussex on 153-3 halfway through the day.

If that was slightly fortunate it was no more than Livingstone deserved after producing some fine, controlled spells during the day to finish with figures of 24-5-59-1 before the second new ball was taken.

Tom Clark, dropped on 0 from a tough chance at third slip, settled in alongside captain Brown as Sussex looked to rebuild, the pair steadily adding 42 off 18 overs during the second half of the afternoon.

Clark, who hit a nicely timed straight six off Livingstone to reach 30, was then beaten by a great in-swinging delivery from Bailey to be lbw in the last over before tea with Sussex 198-4.

The hosts came back strongly when play resumed with Delray Rawlins going onto the attack, hitting two sixes in his 64-ball innings of 42 and adding 62 off 16 overs with Brown in increasingly gloomy conditions that resulted in the floodlights being deployed.

But Rawlins’ entertaining knock came to an end when he drove Parkinson off the back foot to Wells at extra cover.

And Lancashire continued to enjoy late success with two further lbw decisions when Danny Lamb ended a patient innings of 46 by Brown and Bailey took his third wicket to dismiss Stuart Meaker for 7.

George Garton with 27 and Jack Carson (12) steered Sussex safely through the remaining six overs to reach the close on 315-7.

Ken Grime   

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