Adams makes light of a knee injury to score third century

Sussex 345-7 v Lancashire
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The Independent Online

Chris Adams, with the commendable discipline required of a captain, reached his third century in successive Championship matches on the stroke of tea as Sussex established a commanding first-innings position here yesterday.

Adams needed 215 balls to reach the landmark, the paucity of the usual fireworks being explained by a strain on his suspect left knee. He finished on 159 not out, not far short of his best for Sussex – 192 against Derbyshire last year – his aches seemingly forgotten.

Adams began in flash-bang fashion, hitting seven fours in his 50, then lifting Gary Keedy for two sixes as his early partners were nibbled away by accurate Lancashire seam bowling. Richard Montgomerie had fallen to a brilliant diving catch by Warren Hegg ("It Stinks" shrieked the Manchester Evening News of England's decision to ignore the county captain for the first Test against Sri Lanka).

Murray Goodwin waited patiently for 10 overs to open his score. Then Kyle Hogg replaced Glen Chapple at the Warwick Road and Goodwin was leg before to his first ball, which kept low. Hogg has replaced Tony Cottey was bowled without offering but Mike Yardy presented an organised defence for 23 overs before being bowled.

Sussex's respectability was assured by a stand of 78 in 19 overs with Robin Martin-Jenkins who, for once, outscored his captain, attempting some handsome drives on a slowish pitch that looks likely to give increasing help to the spinners.

Keedy got another to turn to beat Martin-Jenkins before Adams, with the nimble Matt Prior, found a second wind against the new ball, Peter Martin enduring a third luckless spell.The sun, hidden all day, eventually broke through to shine on Hogg, Prior miscuing a pull. Hogg, at 6ft 3in and fast, has great promise; he also seems blessed with good fortune, a priceless combination.

Once Sussex had passed 300 Hegg had to recall spin, and then Mark Chilton's swing, as the innings started to assume major dimensions. Kevin Innes hooked Chilton for six and was leg before next ball. Mark Davis looks an exceedingly useful No 9.

If Lancashire can score quickly enough today they could still win this match, with two spinners on a wearing surface, but it seems likely that Adams has already put victory beyond reach.