Cricket: Adams is alone in fluency

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AS SO often happens the lifeless pitch here dictated not only the course but the pace of events which can best described as sluggish.

Batting was hard work all day for Sussex against South Africa's second string bowling attack and only Chris Adams was able to play strokes with any conviction until some friendly offerings from the spinners came along towards the end.

Both Wasim Khan and Mark Newell dug themselves in, but were strokeless for long periods. Wasim batted almost three and a half hours for 50 and Newell half an hour less for 48. The pitch was as little help to the bowlers as it was for the batsmen.

It is a pity that this ground, which must be unrivalled for its almost magical beauty in the entire world of first-class cricket, should have this one defect. It has always been the same and being laid on the side of a Chalk Down fast bowlers will never lick their fingers in anticipation of Arundel.

But, it would interesting to see if it could be improved by relaying part of the square to a greater depth than has happened before. Steve Elworthy and Mornantau Hayward in particular did not help at the start when their control was poor, although Elworthy improved as he went on.

After Toby Peirce had been caught at second slip driving, Wasim and Mark Newell added 96 in 32 overs before Wasim, who had just reached 50, chipped to midwicket and Newell was brilliantly caught by Brian McMillan diving to his left in the gully.

Adams played a few heart-warming strokes, hitting six fours and one six, a drive over mid-on off Pat Symcox, before being yorked by Hayward. While Adams produced the best strokes of the day, the worst were played by the yobbos, who during the night, had slashed the tyres of the South African's bus which does duty as the Manchester United team coach during the football season.

Sussex were taken past 200 in the evening when the spinners, Symcox and Daryll Cullinan bowled in tandem in awkward conditions presumably in an attempt to hurry up the over rate and cut down the amount of over time at the end of the day.

James Carpenter and Keith Newell took toll and provided much-needed entertainment for a crowd of 3,500.