Law stand offers escape route

Sussex 423 Lancashire 279-9
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The day began with a warning of sunburn, continued through a Sussex morning into a hot afternoon dominated by the bat of Stuart Law. He may not be good enough for Australia, but he is a class act anywhere else.

Law became Lancashire's overseas professional partly on the strength of two centuries for Essex on their last visit here, two memorable acts of defiance by the champion of the weaker side; what Law cannot have expected was to find himself in a similar role with Lancashire. He finished 149 not out from 277 while at the wicket and may have to do the same again today if Lancashire, who avoided the follow-on in the closing over, are to escape.

So far, promoted Sussex have proved the stronger against a team expected to challenge for the Championship. In 90 minutes Lancashire were unable to prevent Chris Adams, 159 overnight, becoming the first Sussex player to score a double-century on this ground; nor stop Sussex from taking a fifth batting point in the last possible over.

The final jolt came as Lancashire batted for 10 overs up to lunch, losing Mark Chilton to the second ball of the innings and David Byas to the third. For some regulars it was worse than watching United play Arsenal.

Sussex needed 11 off the 130th over to win the bonus point; Adams needed four runs to pass his previous best for Sussex, 192. Lancashire persevered with the spinner Gary Keedy, who was swept for two fours off the second and third balls. A single gave last man Jason Lewry the strike with two runs needed off two balls and he settled the argument handsomely by lifting Keedy straight to the boundary .

Lancashire began needing 274 to avoid a follow-on. Chilton, thrusting forward, was leg-before to Lewry's second ball; Byas may have thought he had cut the third through slips, but gully took a stunning low catch to give the former Yorkshire captain his second golden duck in three matches at his new home.

Law, with the persevering Alec Swann, saved the innings from a complete rout with a stand of 130 in 39 overs, but once Adams had settled into using the off-spinner Mark Davis and a relay of seam from the Stretford End it crumbled. Swann was snatched at short-leg, James Kirtley, replacing the unlucky Robin Martin-Jenkins, had two caught behind while captain Warren Hegg fell at silly point.

Lewry's well-directed third spell threatened Lancashire with the follow-on, but Keedy proved a doughty partner, blocking 26 balls before gliding Kirtley for four, Law responding by taking 14 off Kirtley's next as Sussex showed their frustration with the last-wicket pair surviving 15 overs.