It is on the little twists of life that events do turn. If Graeme Welch had not injured an ankle in the National League match a week ago then Dougie Brown would have been at the beck and call of his team-mates; as it was he was handed the all-rounder's role and it was the Sussex fielders who were reduced to doing the fetching and carrying during the tall Scot's marathon innings.
Many a lesser player might have found it difficult to return to that sphere of concentration which had seen Brown reach a chanceless 157 the day before. Not so the Alloa man.
Beneath his mop of ginger hair lies a cool brain. This is no hot-headed, impetuous Celt; Brown is a model of control and discipline. When he emerged, his body language made it abundantly clear that an early departure was not on his mind. A first double hundred awaited him, and he pursued it in single-minded fashion.
The magical milestone arrived with yet another boundary - this one, his 30th, lofted effortlessly back over the head of the slow left-armer Toby Peirce and down into the shadows of the Gilligan Stand. Brown's relief and joy were palpable. His fatigue was also evident. Two balls later it was all over. Brown, uncharacteristically, decided to go for an even bigger one. One stride and another and a generous heave saw him miss the ball. Keith Piper was in as quick as a flash.
The end of Brown after six- -and-three-quarter hours for his career-best 203 also marked the end of the Warwickshire innings. They had topped 500 for the second innings running, thanks to the superb, record-breaking part- nership of 289 for the seventh wicket between Brown and the ever-improving Ashley Giles.
Giles reached a career best, in his case a more modest 128, a score that was as well-drilled as Brown's. It was Giles' third first-class hundred and, as on the previous two occasions, he remained unbeaten.
He had played second fiddle for a minute shy of five hours as he and Brown expunged Tom Dollery's and Jimmy Ord's Maidstone landmark of 250, made against Kent, which had stood for 47 years. It was also the highest seventh-wicket partnership against Sussex.
Having shown them how to do it, it did not seem unreasonable to expect something sterner second time around from the Sussex batsmen. But it did not work out like that.
Peirce departed cheaply, pushing at one from the promising Alan Richardson that left him after lifting more sharply than anticipated. Michael Bevan was looking settled in a 69-run stand with Richard Montgomerie when he decided Neil Smith's first ball of the match was not deserving of a shot. He got what he deserved, a leg-before decision. And on the stroke of tea captain Chris Adams played back and fell lbw to a quicker delivery from Giles.
Sussex won toss
Sussex - First Innings 224 (Adams 70, Richardson 4-69)
Warwickshire - First Innings
Overnight 439-6 (Hemp 90)
D R Brown st Humphries b Peirce 20 A F Giles not out 128 Extras (b3 lb23 nb24) 50 Total (for 7 dec, 160 overs) 548 Fall: 1-35, 2-50, 3-133, 4-158, 5-158, 6-259, 7-548. Did Not Bat: K J Piper, A Richardson, E S H Giddins.
Bowling: J D Lewry 38-9-123-0, R J Kirtley 30-9-101-2, M A Robinson 35-14-88-3, R S C Martin-Jenkins 36-5-133-1, C J Adams 4-1-16-0, M G Bevan 3-0-17-0, M T E Peirce 11-3-37-1, W J House 3-1-7-0.
Sussex - Second Innings
R R Montgomerie b Giles 51 M T E Peirce c Piper b Richardson 8 M G Bevan lbw b Smith 36 *C J Adams lbw b Giles 23 P A Cottey not out 17 W J House not out 9 Extras (nb2) 2 Total (for 4, 53.5 overs) 146 Fall: 1-12, 2-81, 3-116, 4-131. To Bat: R S C Martin-Jenkins, J D Lewry, S Humphries, R J Kirtley, M A Robinson.
Bowling: E S H Giddins 11-3-32-0, A Richardson 11-3-25-1, D R Brown 7-2-22-0, A F Giles 12.5-7-20-2, N M K Smith 12-2-47-1.
Umpires: D J Constant and G Sharp.
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