Luke Wright plays long game to save leaders with 187

Sussex 222 & 454 Middlesex 499-8 dec & 50-3 (Match drawn)

lord's

If there was anyone in the game who might have licked his lips at the prospect of a Twenty20-style slog to settle four days of intense cricket then it was Luke Wright.

Yet this was a match that was all about Wright the four-day player, whose epic 187 led Sussex to a memorable draw after they had been forced to follow-on, not only preserving their unbeaten record in the Championship but keeping them top of the First Division.

Wright, who has played almost four times as many limited overs as first-class matches, had not made a century in the Championship for two years yet emerged as their unlikely hero with the innings of his life, eclipsing his previous best by some distance and taking Sussex most of the way to a mammoth 454 in their second innings.

It left Middlesex to chase 178 to win, in the event in precisely 20 overs, a task for which they are not well equipped and which they gave up rather abruptly once their three biggest hitters had been out, with 50 scored, in the seventh over.

Middlesex had their regrets in a match they needed to see out after outplaying Sussex. The two biggest ones were the chances they gave Wright, most notably on Friday evening when he swept a ball from Ollie Rayner straight to the fielder at deep square-leg, only for Tim Murtagh to spill a regulation catch. He was on 40 at the time.

He was dropped again yesterday, on 153, a difficult chance coming over his shoulder and out of the sun but which Chris Rogers, the Middlesex captain, should have held. Murtagh was the bowler this time. Noticeably, he held back from complaining.

Wright batted for six and a half hours for his 187, hitting 25 fours. He had been Sussex's most durable batsman in their disappointing first effort, too, with three hours at the crease. He could not remember batting for so long, but with the weariness came satisfaction.

"You would prefer your runs to contribute to a win rather than a draw but in the circumstances it was probably the best I've played in four-day cricket," he said. "I'm known for what I've done in Twenty20 and the IPL and in one-day cricket for England, but I have been on Test tours in the past and it doesn't mean I've given up on four-day cricket and trying to contribute to winning games in that format."

Middlesex had sniffed victory when Ed Joyce was caught at slip in the third over with the second new ball, two short of his hundred, at which point the Sussex lead was only five, with only five wickets in hand and more than two sessions left.

But prising out Wright proved beyond them and the help he found from Will Beer was critical.

Suggested Topics
News
i100 In this video, the late actor Leonard Nimoy explains how he decided to use the gesture for his character
Arts and Entertainment
Secrets of JK Rowling's Harry Potter workings have been revealed in a new bibliography
arts + ents
News
Robert De Niro has walked off the set of Edge of Darkness
news The Godfather Part II actor has an estimated wealth of over $200m
Arts and Entertainment
Fearne Cotton is leaving Radio 1 after a decade
radio The popular DJ is leaving for 'family and new adventures'
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower