Cork claims first scalps as Lancashire take control

Sussex 195 Lancashire 51-1
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The Independent Online

BY Dominic Cork's standards his first wicket for his new county Lancashire was a long time coming. He had to endure a whole match without making the sort of impression with the ball that he and his new team-mates wanted.

BY Dominic Cork's standards his first wicket for his new county Lancashire was a long time coming. He had to endure a whole match without making the sort of impression with the ball that he and his new team-mates wanted.

But an hour and a half into Sussex's first innings yesterday the former Derbyshire captain finally struck when he broke a promising stand between Murray Goodwin and Richard Montgomerie by flicking the former's pads. He bowled rhythmically and went on to account for Tim Ambrose, who played on, and then had Mushtaq Ahmed brilliantly caught one-handed by wicketkeeper Warren Hegg.

The some time England all-rounder had actually made a great impact when he took a sharp catch to dismiss opener Ian Ward off the third ball of the day. That was the first of three catches for Cork, all at third slip, the other victims being Chris Adams and Kevin Innes - this last a real beauty low to his right.

Later though, Cork admitted his disappointment that he had conceded so many runs and chose rather to single out Sajid Mahmood, who also picked up three wickets, running down the slope but into a stiff April breeze. "He looks a very good prospect for Lancashire and for England," said Cork. "He runs in very easily, it's a loping run, rather like the West Indies bowler Curtly Ambrose."

The Sussex captain, Adams, who had won the toss, admitted later that the decision to bat on a blameless pitch was a team one, and his opposite number Hegg said he too would have batted had he won the toss.

The whole of the Lancashire seam attack had the better of Sussex, a feat borne out by the fact that this was the first Championship match in which the defending county champions had failed to register a single batting bonus point since July 2002, when they had been skittled out for 145 by Kent on the County Ground.

The only player who came remotely close to mastering the conditions and the Lancashire attack was the Sussex opener Montgomerie, who carried his bat for the second time in two seasons. Without his watchful unbeaten half-century, which occupied fully four hours, Lancashire might well have had a lot more time to close the gap. As it was, heavy rain arrived as the teams were taking a late tea and that was that. Sussex will now have their work cut out trying to contain the prolific Lancashire batsmen today.

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