Cricket: Cautious Sussex play it safe

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The Independent Online
A THUNDERSTORM ended Sussex's pursuit of a long shot victory yesterday against Worcestershire at New Road.

A day removed from the home team's celebrations over Graeme Hick's entry into the '100 Hundreds Club', the Sussex openers, Toby Peirce and Wasim Khan, reached half centuries in an unbroken partnership of 123. But they were still 296 short of their 419 target when the weather broke at lunch.

Surface water caused a long delay and at 4pm the match was abandoned as a draw - a result which maintained Worcestershire's unbeaten Championship record but cost Sussex a chance of tracking Surrey at the top.

Ultimately, the game will be remembered only for Hick's achievement and a maiden Championship century by the talented Worcestershire opener, Vikram Solanki.

They enabled Tom Moody to set Sussex a daunting challenge, but the Australian's prospect of forcing a win faded during an unsuccessful morning for six bowlers.

Sussex's first task was to play for safety and this purpose was admirably served when Peirce and Khan took 30 overs to complete a 50 stand. The attrition only increased the anticlimax following Hick's exploits.

The two left-handers could be excused as they seek to establish a regular opening partnership in a new look set-up under the captaincy of Chris Adams.

Peirce, who recently made 96 against Nottinghamshire, reached 51 from 156 balls while Khan, who left Warwickshire in search of first-team cricket, built on his century in the last match against Derbyshire a 53, including six fours in 179 balls.