County Championship round-up: Godwin hits 344 off 323 balls for record

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The Independent Online

Murray Goodwin, the Sussex batsman, etched his own line in cricket history yesterday with the highest individual score on English soil since Brian Lara's ground-breaking 501 not out at Edgbaston some 15 years ago.

The 36-year-old Zimbabwe-born right-hander – who had, perversely, been struggling through one of the leanest streaks of his career before this match – hit an unbeaten 344 as Sussex piled up a massive 742 for 5 declared against Somerset at Taunton.

It is the sixth-highest individual innings in County Championship history, placing Goodwin behind only Lara (Warwickshire v Durham, 1994), Archie MacLaren (424, Lancashire v Somerset, 1895), Graeme Hick (405 not out, Worcestershire v Somerset, 1988), Neil Fairbrother (366, Lancashire v Surrey, 1990) and Bobby Abel (357 not out, Surrey v Somerset, 1899).

MacLaren and Hick also made their runs at Taunton, which has witnessed the last three triple hundreds in Championship cricket, following Justin Langer's 315 against Middlesex in 2007 and James Hildreth's unbeaten 303 against Warwickshire earlier this summer.

Goodwin, who had a seasonal average of just 16.58 in first-class cricket going into this match, more than doubled his aggregate with yesterday's innings. His previous 19 knocks had realised just 282 runs.

He broke his own record for Sussex's highest individual score, set in September, 2003 against Leicestershire at Hove when he made 335 not out as the county clinched their first Championship title.

The innings contained 43 fours and six sixes and his fourth-wicket stand of 363 in 73 overs with Carl Hopkinson, who made a career-best 132, was another county record. Sussex's total was also the highest in their history, eclipsing the previous record of 705-8 declared set in 1902 against Surrey.

Goodwin's innings was notable also for its speed, the milestone reached in only 323 deliveries, although it is not the fastest recorded triple hundred. That belongs to India's Virender Sehwag, scored from only 278 balls against South Africa at Chennai in 2008.