Cricket: Sussex offered little incentive

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Somerset . . . . . . . . . . . . .356 and 232-7 dec

Sussex . . . . . . . . . . . . . .310-7 dec and 159-4

Match drawn

SUSSEX were not very happy after being set to chase 279 off 48 overs. They felt that Chris Tavare's target erred on the side of stiff. But then they had chosen to put Somerset in to bat, so they were in no position to complain.

The background is that Tavare may have developed a slightly unwanted reputation for generosity, which yesterday he had to refute. Against Durham he had set one of the less testing targets, 213 off 42 overs, and Somerset had lost by eight wickets. This was followed by a target of 300 off 85 overs which he offered to Derbyshire, at Taunton; Derbyshire won with no less than 32 overs in hand.

Somerset could not score quite quickly enough for their liking in the morning, in that phoney period which precedes the chase. Ian Salisbury bowled some good balls - a quicker, pretty rapid one knocked Richard Harden's middle stump out of the ground - along with others of somewhat lesser quality, as every young spinner will do.

So much of cricket is played in the mind that Graham Rose hit two sixes off Salisbury, before discovering a broken bone in his left hand which will keep him out for three weeks. Rob Turner, taller than Tavare, could be a useful straight-batted lower-order player and he kept competently on the bouncy pitch. At ankle-grubbing Weston-super-Mare he might be stretched a little more.

If Sussex had good intentions, they faded as Alan Wells was run out when Hayhurst deflected a ball into the stumps at the bowler's end. Needing 149 off the last 20 overs, Sussex gave up with nine remaining, as runs flowed no faster than holiday traffic on the M5. It was a good pitch - for four-day cricket. Blame the players? Or blame the system?

Salim Malik, who may return to Essex in 1993, reminded Chelmsford of his talents yesterday, anunbeaten 153 from 138 balls enabling Pakistan to declare four behind on 353 for 6, Graham Gooch falling for four as the hosts closed on 58 for 2.