Cricket: Sussex slide on seamer's wicket

Sussex 332 & 163-9 Glamorgan 353-8 dec
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The Independent Online
WHEN RAIN arrived from the west to bring play to a halt at 3.40pm a day, which began evenly balanced, had steadily tilted Glamorgan's way. The visitors declared with a token 21-run lead on Tuesday evening in a match where Robert Croft is the only specialist spinner. Sussex's sole regular spin option, Michael Bevan, is with the Australian squad preparing for the Commonwealth Games, and will not return this season, while Glamorgan rightly sensed a seamer's wicket and left out Dean Cosker.

The announcement of four of England's winter squads - the one-day side for Australia and the Under-19s for New Zealand are still to come - brought mixed emotions to Hove. Croft was mightily relieved to make the Ashes party, Jason Lewry and Darren Thomas were bowled over by England A selection, while the Sussex skipper Chris Adams received last prize in the raffle, a place in the eight-a-side Super Max tournament in Perth next month.

The advice of the Sussex management was to go out yesterday and reply with a stack of runs. Alas, this most ebullient of batsmen built just a small stack, as he had in the first innings, but his 47 was as entertaining as ever. Adams received 58 balls either side of lunch, and hit eight boundaries. A one-bounce hook off Andrew Davies clattered into the heavy roller beyond the square-leg fence, and chewed a chunk out of the ball.

Adams fell to a second-slip catch by Cosker, fielding for the wicketkeeper Adrian Shaw who broke a finger on Monday. Shaw, in fact, had to make a brief appearance, fingers taped together, while Thomas sought running repairs for a calf strain. Matthew Maynard donned the emergency gauntlets yesterday and kept neatly, conceding just two byes so far.

Although it was Croft who started the Sussex slide by fooling Wasim Khan and Toby Peirce, this remains a game for seam. The Glamorgan quartet - Davies and Thomas, Owen Parkin and Adrian Dale - shared the remaining wickets, with Dale taking a tidy trio to reduce Sussex to 163 for 9 when the drizzle thickened to rain. Dale raced in from the sea end in the steady drizzle to trap James Kirtley leg before with the first ball of his new spell. Nick Wilton was then bowled leg stump for a duck and Robin Martin- Jenkins, who shared a seventh-wicket stand of 36 in eight overs with Kirtley, followed in similar fashion, having taken 46 balls in compiling 30.

There is still time for a Sussex surprise, but it is Glamorgan who now have most reason to hope for a favourable forecast today.