CRICKET: Hayden makes light of green wicket

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The Independent Online
MATTHEW HAYDEN, Northamptonshire's captain, made an unbeaten 98 as his county made Sussex suffer for sending them in on a greenish wicket at Hove. Hayden, dropped on 39 off Mark Robinson, piled on the agony by stroking 15 fours off 170 balls to help guide his side to 184 for 2 at the close, after overnight rain had delayed the start until early afternoon.

Sussex met with some early encouragement by claiming the wickets of Rob Bailey and Mal Loye. But the Australian Hayden then took charge and dominated an unbroken third wicket stand of 127 with Russell Warren who had reached 39 when rain and bad light halted play early.

Hayden, who has appeared in seven Tests for his country, had his let- off when he played Robinson firmly into the gully where Rajesh Rao put down the chance despite getting two hands to the ball.

The tall left-hander thrived on this good fortune by punishing anything loose and he was given excellent support by Warren to make it a satisfying first day for the visitors.

The former Northamptonshire captain Bailey was dropped by the wicketkeeper Shaun Humphries off James Kirtley before he fell on 26 when he went leg before to Alex Edwards' first delivery. Loye helped himself to two successive fours off Robin Martin-Jenkins, but perished on nine to the same bowler when he was leg before on the back foot.

Hayden confidently went about rebuilding the innings with Warren, who enjoyed a slice of luck himself on 35 shortly after tea. The medium-pace bowler Martin-Jenkins was the unlucky bowler as Warren snicked him low to second slip where the captain, Chris Adams, spilled a sharp chance diving to his right. Adams immediately left the field for stitches on his right hand.