Round-Up: Sussex collapse keeps Lancashire on top

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The Independent Online

Sussex cannot afford to lose to Lancashire at Hove this week after falling foul of their Edgbaston curse and suffering a damaging blow to their First Division title hopes in the County Championship with a 13-run defeat by Warwickshire yesterday.

They have not won in Birmingham since 1982 - their only victory there in the last 45 years - and it was as if the jinx played on their minds as they collapsed to 256 all out after losing six wickets for 66 on the final morning of the match.

Having played one more game than Lancashire, Chris Adams' team will now start a point behind the leaders at Hove on Wednesday in a match that could decide the title.

Victory was a huge boost for Warwickshire after they had slipped towards the relegation zone. The South African spinner Paul Harristook five wickets in an innings for the sixth time in nine months.

It was a poor effort by Sussex in a situation where they needed to graft to score a further 80 runs to reach their target of 270. Too many batsmen gave their wickets away with reckless strokes.

On resuming at 190 for 4, much responsibility was on Murray Goodwin to see them through but he was out straightaway, pushing forward and tickling a catch off Harris to slip.

A dry, wearing surface offered some turn for the slow left-armer, but once Matt Prior had fallen to James Anyon, Sussex became marginal favourites during a seventh-wicket partnership of 42 between Robin Martin-Jenkins and Yasir Arafat.

The game then swung again with with two wickets in eight balls. Neil Carter was in his second over when Arafat gave a catch behind, while Martin-Jenkins played on to Harris off the bottom of the bat.

The last wicket in Harris' 5 for 73 was a gift when Mushtaq Ahmed heaved across the line, then Carter splattered James Lewry's stumps.

Lancashire had underlined their title credentials on Saturday after Iain Sutcliffe's unbeaten century guided them to a five-wicket win over Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge. Chasing 312 to win, Lancashire resumed the final day on 238 for 1 but suffered a few nervous moments courtesy of the Notts spinners Graeme Swann and David Hussey.

Swann accounted for Mal Loye after the batsman had made 108 but Sutcliffe held on, adding 31 to his overnight 108 as the visitors reached 314 for 5.

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