Cricket: Sussex miss out on mist chances

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The Independent Online
Nottinghamshire 275 Sussex 49-3

BOTH of these sides believe they can finish in the top half of the Championship, a view possibly not widely shared outside Nottingham and Hove. Sussex, despite finishing bottom of both the Britannic and Axa League tables last season, might just be the better bet, although they failed to make the most of their opportunities here yesterday.

A heavy mist hung around for much of the first two sessions and even when the sun emerged the air remained moist. In consequence, the ball swung appreciably, so much so that by the 10th over of the Nottinghamshire innings Chris Adams had every reason to feel pleased with his decision to field.

The new Sussex captain had just taken an excellent catch to remove Jason Gallian, who had been eager to post his first meaningful runs for his new county, to give James Kirtley his second wicket of the morning. Kirtley, a young and enthusiastic quick bowler of some promise, had already dismissed Mathew Dowman and the home side were 16 for 2.

Kirtley finished with 3 for 59, his new-ball partner Jason Lewry 4 for 57, an encouraging effort from a player who spent all of last season recovering from a stress fracture. Michael Bevan, the Australian signed primarily as a batsman but who now and then bowls Chinamen, marked his Sussex Championship debut by taking wickets with his fourth and fifth balls.

Yet there were too many loose deliveries, even from the successful bowlers, not to mention 51 extras conceded, and Nottinghamshire still managed what could be a useful total if the morning cloud lingers again today. By the close Sussex were three down and 226 behind, with Bevan gone and Adams being one of two out before a run had been scored. Adams was run out as the non-striker when Mark Bowen deflected Toby Pierce's drive.

Nottinghamshire's recovery had been led by their captain, Paul Johnson, who struck 11 fours in his 68 of 75 balls, a typically exhilarating innings that came to a most disappointing end when he spooned an easy catch to square leg.