England wicketkeeper Matt Prior faces punishment for dissent after being dismissed in questionable circumstances as Middlesex turned the screw against the First Division leaders Sussex here.
Prior was given out when Middlesex's Sam Robson dived forward from silly mid-off to claim a catch off the bowling of former Sussex off-spinner Ollie Rayner. Robson seemingly appealed more in hope than expectation to umpire Martin Saggers, with neither wicketkeeper John Simpson or short-leg Adam London joining in with any conviction.
But Saggers raised the finger, although not instantly. Prior responded by standing his ground, pointing his bat at the ground in front of him before finally accepting his fate. He declined an invitation to give his point of view afterwards.
Footage reportedly showed the catch was not taken cleanly but Rayner argued that his side were entitled to appeal and did so "in the right way".
"I asked Robbo [Robson] if he had caught it, he said he had and so I turned to the umpire and asked 'how's that?'," Rayner said. "You can never be 100 per cent sure and Matt did not want to go. But we did it in the right way, we didn't go mad or anything. It's a shame with how important every decision is in every game that the fielder is not always taken at his word these days."
The incident made it a bad day all round for Sussex, who collapsed to 117 for 7 in reply to Middlesex's 499 for 8 declared, in which Australian opener Chris Rogers made 184 and Neil Dexter his first century of the season. Rayner, bowling as well as he has for some time, finished the day on three for 47, but there were impressive spells too from Tim Murtagh and James Harris. Sussex need a further 203 just to avoid the follow-on.
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