Cricket: Drakes at full sail for Sussex

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Sussex 200-9 dec Derbyshire 209-8

Not much appears to separate Derbyshire and Sussex these days in terms of internal strife, and there was little between them when the third stoppage of the day ended a low-key contest yesterday.

Though there was probably less help for the bowlers once the new ball had lost its hardness, Sussex took their cue from an inspired opening spell by Vasbert Drakes and will now consider themselves back in a match that could have slipped away from them on the first day.

There is no doubt scope yet for a few twists and turns, though so far both sides have unsurprisingly bowled better than they have batted in these conditions and more cloud cover ensured that batsmen would again have to work hard.

It was not immediately obvious to the spectators why as many as 28 overs had to be lost before play could start after an early lunch; then, though there was less movement off the seam, the ball still swung and Drakes made the most of it.

Two weeks ago Tim Tweats amassed 248 against Sussex's second XI, Derbyshire's highest individual score at that level. But now he found himself in a different world and probably had his education furthered by Drakes, who beat him with a series of rapid outswingers before removing his off-stump.

Soon afterwards Kim Barnett was late on another quickish ball which also hit his off-stump, and for the second successive day Chris Adams found himself in isolation. He made the first half century of a low-scoring match and could have taken his side to a position of strength had he been able to introduce a degree of selectivity. But selectivity has never been his forte. Maybe one day it will dawn on him that he should make bowlers earn his wicket, but not yet, it seems. Aiming to pick up Mark Robinson, he was caught off a steepling top edge, leaving the more circumspect Vince Clarke to hold the innings together.