Cricket: Adams enjoys grass of Hove

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Sussex 373-7 v Middlesex

SUSSEX MEMBERS and players were so browned off at the stultifying draw against Somerset in the last home match that the county ensured plenty of grass was left on the strip yesterday. It might have been seen as a brave decision, given how few times the brittle Sussex line-up has gleaned maximum batting points.

But Adams clearly knew something everyone else did not, because the Sussex captain had steered his side to maximum batting points for only the fourth time this season and had reached his fourth century.

His departure was as unexpected as it was disappointing. Adams needed four more runs to pass 1,000 for the season, when he was tempted into a moment of careless driving at James Hewitt and was caught behind.

It was a magnificent innings. He had peppered the cover boundary at regular intervals and his 170 - his highest since his move from Derbyshire - included 27 fours as he passed 150 for the fourth time in his career.

The power and timing of his hitting was awesome and he dominated the bowling. It was reassuring to see Adams batting like this, particularly on the day that Neil Taylor announced his retirement after 19 seasons and more than 19,000 first-class runs.

There were one or two foolish moments, however. The first was when Phil Tufnell, having seen a direct hit turned into four overthrows and a five against his name, kicked over a stump.

The other involved Adams, who, already well past three figures, attempted a hook shot; Chris Batt, the bowler, howled his appeal for a catch behind and finished up standing almost alongside his wicketkeeper, Keith Brown. Umpire John Hampshire was unmoved. At the end of the over, as Batt moved off, Adams strode up the pitch, pointing his bat towards the bowler's end. It was not clear if anything was said, but the Sussex captain's actions were eloquent enough.

After almost four and three quarter hours spent in compiling the 25th century of his career he departed. By then he had shared in a stand of 152 with Rajesh Rao, who made his first fifty of the season.