Gough in fight to be fit for crucial tripto Sussex

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The Independent Online

The County Championship race is coming to the boil, and there is no better place to be than Hove where third-placed Sussex tackle leaders Yorkshire today.

The scales are tipped in favour of defending champions Sussex. They have been here before. A year ago they were also required to win two of their last three games to win the Championship. The difference this time is that two of those last three matches are at home, they have not lost a Championship game at the County Ground for three seasons, and they have a game in hand over Yorkshire.

In contrast, Yorkshire are dragging themselves back to winning ways, the victory over Warwickshire a fortnight ago came at the end of a string of nine matches without a win.

The leaders travel to the South Coast with a big worry over captain Darren Gough, who has been struggling with sore shins. Yorkshire have included latest signing Imran Tahir, a leg-spinner, and replacement for pace bowler Jason Gillespie who has been called up for Australia A's tour of Pakistan. Tahir, 28, will team up with Adil Rashid, but they are competing against Mushtaq Ahmed who already has 69 Championship scalps to his name this year.

The fact that Sussex will be without James Kirtley, Matt Prior and Luke Wright will not disturb them too much. Kirtley only played in the opening four matches in the present campaign. Prior's England's duties have permitted him just three Championship games, again all at the start of the season, and Wright has had more of an influence in the one-day game.

The title will not be decided at the end of this match, but the fate of both counties almost certainly will have been.