Mushtaq's leg spin gives Sussex hope

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The Independent Online

After the lamentable batting yesterday, Sussex were just about hanging on in their match against Gloucestershire with leg-spinner Mushtaq Ahmed keeping their hopes alive with a five-wicket haul at Arundel.

After the lamentable batting yesterday, Sussex were just about hanging on in their match against Gloucestershire with leg-spinner Mushtaq Ahmed keeping their hopes alive with a five-wicket haul at Arundel.

The champions are still on the back foot after making just 106 yesterday, but Gloucestershire could not take full advantage as they were limited to 300. The Pakistani leg-spinner claimed five for 58 but, after Sussex's paltry 106, a first-innings lead of 194 left them in a strong position.

The Sussex openers Ian Ward and Richard Montgomerie safely negotiated four overs to knock eight off the arrears but Sussex have a tough task to save the game. Opener Phil Weston top-scored for Gloucestershire with 81 and the giant Pakistani pace bowler Shabbir Ahmed frustrated Sussex down the order by adding 65 for the last two wickets.

Shabbir thrashed Mushtaq for three sixes on the way to hitting 34 not out from 52 balls.

Mushtaq, introduced in the 34th over, bowled unchanged until shortly before the conclusion of the innings. Sussex made another eight runs in their second innings before play ended.

In the Second Division, Marcus North was marching towards a double-century as the bottom side, Durham, marched to 407 for 4 against Glamorgan at Sophia Gardens.

The opener Jon Lewis departed for 27 and Gordon Muchall followed for 23, leaving his side on 103 for 2. But North was in unstoppable form as he made 190 off 232 balls, and remained unbeaten at the close.

Fifth-placed Leicestershire were in aggressive mood against Somerset after no play was possible at Taunton on the first day, surging to 402 for 8 before declaring yesterday.

Darren Maddy struck 84 off 90 balls before he was caught by Rob Turner off the West Indian paceman Nixon McLean. His fellow opener, Darren Robinson, made 72 before he too fell to McLean. Somerset reduced the target by 45 before stumps.

Derbyshire steadied themselves after they were reduced to 68 for 4 by Essex before rain brought an early lunch.

Graham Napier claimed three wickets for Essex in the space of five balls to put the hosts in trouble, but they recovered to make 274 for 6. Napier claimed 5 for 47 by the end of the day.

Phil Jaques' unbeaten 182 put Yorkshire in a strong position on 268 for 3 against Hampshire in another rain-inter- rupted day at the Rose Bowl.

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