Cricket: Sussex subside in the damp

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Sussex 157-7 v Kent

THE WEATHER has been most unkind to the annual county championship match on this loveliest of grounds. Only 41 overs were possible on the second day and they did not begin until four o'clock, when the Sussex first innings continued the subsidence which had begun on Thursday.

A thick, misty drizzle hung over the ground for the first half of the day, but the chalk enables it to drain so quickly that a start was possible after an early tea, although conditions were still unpleasant and awkward for the players.

The first wicket fell to the eighth ball of the day, when John North picked up Martin McCague off the front foot and Graham Cowdrey judged a running catch well at deep backward square leg.

Peter Moores now began to play a typically opportunistic innings, starting in the same over with a good square drive off McCague for four, while David Smith, never wholly at ease, played a more passive role. He produced one handsome stroke though, when he square-drove Alan Igglesden, whose length was not quite as full as it had been on Thursday.

The second of two fierce slashes through the off side for four by Moores off Matthew Fleming brought up the 100. Then, in quick succession, Smith played back to Fleming and was lbw when the ball kept low and Moores, trying to turn Carl Hooper to leg, was out to a good catch by Nigel Llong in front of his face off the leading edge at forward short leg. Then came some stout resistance from Ian Salisbury.

Bad weather threatens the first Test between Sri Lanka and India, which begins today at the picturesque Asgiriya Stadium in Kandy. Intermittent rain across the region has reduced the limited practice sessions in the run-up to the match.