Batsman of the day
Luke Wells, a red-ball specialist and, as such, a rarity among young batsmen more naturally inclined to be one-day dashers, underlined the value of his patient approach to his art by turning an overnight century against Surrey into the first double hundred of his career. Wells, 22, was at the crease for eight and three-quarter hours before becoming a first victim as a Surrey player for Vikram Solanki’s off-spin. Ed Joyce missed a century by two runs but England wicketkeeper Matt Prior’s 62 off 45 balls ensured Sussex a commanding lead.
Display of the day
Northamptonshire would be even more firmly established as the early promotion favourites in the Second Division had bad weather not allowed Glamorgan to escape with a draw in their opening match. Having thrashed Essex last week, the ambitious Midlanders – who say they may make a move to sign Mitchell Johnson, the pace bowler who was left out of Australia’s recently announced Ashes squad, for Twenty20 – are pushing Gloucestershire towards a heavy defeat at Bristol, where the home side might have collapsed in a heap but for Alex Gidman’s 87.
Jos Buttler may be behind Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow as a middle-order contender for England’s Test side, but if there is a chance for impressive early season form to put a new name in the frame it will be in the middle-order, especially if Kevin Pietersen’s injury problem persists. Buttler, who has already made a place in England’s one-day side his own, can do no more than build on what he has achieved so far, which includes, impressively, 94 against Surrey at The Oval and an unbeaten 119 against the champions, Warwickshire, at Taunton.
The argument that university cricket is no longer of a standard to merit first-class status has been challenged again by Leeds-Bradford MCCU, who beat a strong Leicestershire side by 105 runs at Grace Road, a year after defeating Sussex. Luis Reece, the 22-year-old all-rounder on Lancashire’s books, who took 7 for 21 in the Sussex win, was key again for the students, taking six wickets in the match and scoring an unbeaten second-innings 114. But equally important were eight wickets in the match for James Lee, the fast bowler released by Yorkshire in 2011 and now studying accountancy at Leeds University.
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