Martin-Jenkins saves Sussex

Sussex 263-6 v Gloucestershire
Click to follow
The Independent Online

A magnificent maiden first class hundred by Robin Martin-Jenkins saved Sussex, who lead the Second Division, from undignified disaster after they had been put in by Gloucestershire. With good support from Michael Yardy and Mark Davis, he took Sussex from 70 for 5 to 263 for 6 after bad light had claimed the last 28.5 overs.

Martin-Jenkins arrived during the last over of the morning, which he quietly played out. After lunch, he square cut, glanced and pulled Roger Sillence, who earlier had found awkward movement and bounce, for three fours. So well did he play that his hundred seemed a virtual certainty. He is a well-balanced batsman who lays straight and has an attractive range of strokes. So far he has hit 18 admirable fours in addition to two pulled sixes.

There was perhaps a little less movement in the afternoon but, in all honesty, Gloucestershire were not allowed to bowl as well as they had in the morning. Martin-Jenkins pulled anything short with timing and ferocity, he drove past cover and mid off with lovely flowing strokes and glanced and square cut when he had the chance.

It was a most impressive innings and, in some ways, is a hostage to fortune because anyone who can bat as well as this must now contribute with greater consistency. His previous highest score, 94, came in Sussex's last home game, against Durham, and so maybe this is the start of something.

The longer he batted the more his fluency increased. He went from 79 to 103 with six sumptuous fours in successive overs against Mark Alleyne. There were no signs of the family weakness on 99 – his father, Christopher, once managed to run himself out for 99 in a schools match at Lord's.

Yardley, a left hander, helped him add 94 for the sixth wicket and hit one cover drive so hard it went through a fielder of Matt Windows' class. He was lbw to Martyn Ball but Davis now began to bat with more assurance and he and Martin-Jenkins have put on 99 in 112 balls.

In the morning Mark Goodwin played Alastair Bressington a trifle carelessly to square leg while Richard Montgomerie and Chris Adams both were out to balls which lifted. Bas Zuiderent had one which bowled him through the gate and Tim Ambrose edged a wild-looking drive.