Cricket: Barnett's century is eloquent response

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The Independent Online
KIM BARNETT came out to bat at second wicket down yesterday, and was greeted by a telling silence. A hundred runs later, and the appreciation was noticeably restrained. His tabloid hatchet job on Chris Adams, the former colleague now skippering Sussex, had clearly been essential reading in Horsham. His response to the frosty reception was also eloquent - a confident clip off Jason Lewry to the third man boundary.

Although one hourly expects its dry, flat wicket to give purchase to the spinners, it has not yet happened. If anything, it has got flatter and firmer. It was the speed and class of Dominic Cork and Phillip DeFreitas that kept Sussex to a manageable score, while Mark Newell's unbeaten 135 must surely mean he survives Adams' return to the side.

Given that Barnett's controlled, determined century was the 53rd of his career it came as no huge revelation. He was reprieved by Wasim Khan, fumbling at gully, on both 22 and 128, but apart from these abberations it was a typically gritty epic. More surprising was the manner in which Matthew Cassar chased him to three figures, his first century.

Cassar, whose wife Jane keeps wicket for England, bowled a brisk medium pace on Thursday without looking penetrating, but his batting was mature and entertaining, and he reached the landmark with a glorious, but not untypical, cover drive. Coming in after a muscular 50 from Adrian Rollins, Cassar - like the younger Newell brother for Sussex - has surely ensured a first-team run. At 216 he and Barnett passed a 60-year-old record for any Derbyshire wicket against Sussex and then took first-innings lead, batting the visitors into a controlling position on a glorious evening.

Wayne Noon, the Nottinghamshire wicketkeeper, will be out of action for a minimum of four weeks after breaking the little finger of his left hand while batting against Warwickshire at Edgbaston yesterday. Nottinghamshire wanted to draft in the England A keeper Chris Read, their recent signing from Gloucestershire, to act as a replacement for the remainder of the Championship match but their application to Lord's has been turned down.