Defiance of Sajid fails to slow Sussex advance

Sussex 470 Lancashire 214 & 148-4
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The Independent Online

Sussex are second from bottom in the Spirit of Cricket League, in which counties are marked by umpires for sportsmanship and good behaviour, but if they can smile through yesterday's amazing happenings in their County Championship First Division match against Lancashire they will soon zoom up the table.

Sussex are second from bottom in the Spirit of Cricket League, in which counties are marked by umpires for sportsmanship and good behaviour, but if they can smile through yesterday's amazing happenings in their County Championship First Division match against Lancashire they will soon zoom up the table.

Sajid Mahmood, Lancashire's 22-year-old England A fast bowler, with a previous highest score of 34 and batting at No 10, hammered the champions' bowling for 94 off 66 balls, including sixes off Mushtaq Ahmed, Robin Martin-Jenkins and James Kirtley.

When last man Gary Keedy joined him in mid-afternoon Lancashire were 101 for 9, still 369 behind and preparing to follow on. The pair added 113 in 17 overs, to which Keedy's contribution was 14. When Sajid was finally out, off the second ball after tea, going for a fourth six, the deficit had been reduced to 256, still formidable but not insurmountable.

Earlier, Mohammed Akram had shown Sajid and the other Lancashire seamers how to bowl on their home patch when he removed the top of their order by taking 3 for 18 in a seven-over spell. When Jason Lewry switched ends, bowling left-arm over with a stiff breeze behind him, the innings collapsed and Lancashire were sent in again with 42 overs remaining in the day.

Akram bounced Mark Chilton, and words were exchanged before a near yorker sent the opener, glowering, back to the pavilion. The irony is that England have returned James Anderson too late, probably, for him to get a bowl. Mushtaq's bowling of Stuart Law near the close may prove the death blow.

* Craig Spearman's career-best 208 not out and Philip Weston's 84 put Gloucestershire in command of their First Division match at Gloucester. Their opening stand was 227 in only 53 overs at the King's School ground as Gloucestershire finished the second day on 353 for 2 in reply to Middlesex's 383.

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