Sarwan upstaged in damp welcome

Sussex 191 Gloucestershire 127-8
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The Independent Online

The West Indies batsman has seen more rain than runs in his first two days. And when he did eventually make it out to the middle he got rather bogged down, spending some nine overs on four runs and almost an hour at the crease overall - the Guyana batsman's solitary boundary coming from the penultimate delivery of his 34-ball innings.

But at least one Gloucestershire overseas player earned his corn. Craig Spearman has a reputation as a big hitter but yesterday, with the ball swinging and seaming every which way, the New Zealander showed that he can get his head down and build an innings. The Gloucestershire reply clung like ivy to the wall of resistance that Spearman constructed over more than two hours.

Sussex had their chances to bring it crashing down, first when Mushtaq Ahmed dropped the simplest of catches at mid-on with the batsman barely halfway through his innings.

The second was a far sharper test, a leg-side offering which the wicketkeeper Matt Prior did well even to get his left hand to - there was no shame in the missing of it.

Spearman finally dropped a brick, playing across one from James Kirtley. The batsman was then on the end of a one-two from the umpire Graham Burgess. At the sound of the appeal the former Somerset player brought his left hand up to his face - only to scratch his nose; there was a breathless pause, then Burgess raised his right index finger to uphold the lbw appeal.

Spearman's departure heralded the beginning of the end, with three wickets falling rapidly, and by the time bad light drove them off, Gloucestershire were still 64 runs behind and left with a tricky reconstruction project.

Earlier it had taken two brief spells to sort out what remained of the Sussex innings. In the pre-prandial seven overs - rain and the legendary sea fret had conspired to delay the resumption for the first hour and three-quarters - the home side lost three more wickets for 48 runs.

The bulk of those came from Prior's rival Tim Ambrose, an Australia-born 22-year-old who brought an aggressive intent to the wicket. Sadly he was out on the stroke of lunch and after the interval the remaining wickets fell in nine overs.

The final one was bizarre, 24 runs coming off it. The Gloucestershire bowler James Averis contributed six of them, sending down three no-balls to the last man Jason Lewry. The batsman briefly raised home hopes of a batting point when he thumped a six and smacked three lusty fours, but he then holed out to the toiling Averis with the total nine short of a bonus point.