Cricket: Hutchison delivers the cutting edge

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The Independent Online
Sussex 129

Yorkshire 159-7

YORKSHIRE HAD just the better of an intriguing day's cricket at Hove which saw 17 wickets fall for 288 runs - not a result of the bad behaviour of the pitch as much as the inability of the Sussex and then the Yorkshire batsmen to play with any conviction against the swinging ball.

Sussex collapsed in a heap in 11 overs after lunch and then, after a poor start to their innings, Yorkshire were steadied by the determination of Matthew Wood and Anthony McGrath in a fourth-wicket stand of 76 before three late wickets once again balanced the match.

The ball swung consistently for much of the day and, in keeping with most contemporary batsmen, the lot presently on show at the County Ground were, with one or two exceptions, incapable of competing. For those who collect batting collapses, Sussex produced one as impressive as some of England's recent efforts, after they had been put into bat.

Their last eight wickets fell after lunch for 18 runs. Batsman after batsman paid the penalty of poor footwork and an extraordinary number of balls found the leading edge with the batsman committed to an on-side stroke, only to be outdone by a late outswing.

After a good morning on which the Yorkshire bowlers must have felt they had wasted a great chance, Sussex had reached 109 for 2. Two more runs were scored before Rajesh Rao pushed forward to Matthew Hoggard and was caught at slip, and, 11 overs later, Sussex were all out for 129.

Already, Yorkshire seemed well on their way to their fifth successive Championship victory, all of which had been achieved without Darren Gough. Paul Hutchison, Gavin Hamilton, Chris Silverwood and Hoggard are all rangy young men with considerable ability, and plenty of enthusiasm and zest.

Hutchison was the main destroyer, taking 7 for 31, the best figures of his career. His lift, his control and his swing made him irresistible against batsmen ill-equipped to play the moving ball, and he looks a magnificent prospect. Chris Adams, who should have known better, was the main culprit for Sussex, playing an outrageous drive at a wide one from Hutchison.

For a while it looked like Yorkshire's batting would be every bit as poor. James Kirtley bowled a fine first spell taking three wickets, as did Mark Robinson but without any luck. After tea Adams' bowling changes, which involved bringing on Keith Newell, were questionable - the ball stopped swinging quite so much and Wood and McGrath took charge, playing some delightful strokes in their stand of 76.