Sussex 171 & 174-2 MCC 205: Kirby struck as Sussex take control

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Steve Kirby had caused Sussex enough problems with the ball on the opening day, but the MCC tail-ender yesterday proved a real nuisance with the bat.

Try as they might the Sussex attack just could not get him out. For 42 minutes the Gloucestershire bowler hung in there, helping MCC to pass the 200-mark.

Then Sussex got their way, sort of. They got Kirby out – out cold. The batsman had the misfortune to turn and try to duck under a Luke Wright bouncer, but only succeeded in presenting the back of his head behind his left ear to the ball.

He dropped to the ground unconscious, remaining so for at least half a minute. Thanks to the quick-wittedness of Sussex captain Chris Adams and wicketkeeper Matt Prior, Kirby was promptly rolled on to his side to prevent him swallowing his tongue and after a few anxious minutes he was led, groggily, back to the pavilion.

Once in the dressing room Kirby apparently lost consciousness again and was eventually taken by ambulance to the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead for X-rays and neurological examination, where he spent the night under observation.

"Typically Kirbs wanted to go back out there and continue batting and then have a bowl," said David Parsons, the ECB's National Performance Director.

Kirby's departure, retired hurt, brought the MCC innings to a close, but by then thanks largely to the lower order they had squeezed out a lead of 34 runs.

When they emerged for their second innings Sussex openers Chris Nash and Carl Hopkinson patiently wiped out the first innings deficit with a 75-run partnership. Although he lost first Hopkinson and then Michael Yardy – the former to Ravi Bopara, the latter to Charlie Shreck – Nash moved past the 50-mark and pushed on towards a big score on the way helping to haul Sussex back on top in the match, 140 in front.

Earlier, apart from Kirby's stubborn innings – he scored four runs in his 42 minute stay – MCC had been aided by a disciplined knock from Arun Harinath. The Surrey 21-year-old resisted the Sussex attack for almost three hours as he compiled the second highest individual score by MCC.

He eventually became Will Beer's maiden first class wicket, falling leg before wicket to the 19-year-old Sussex leg spinner.

Another landmark had been reached with the previous wicket to fall, that of wicketkeeper James Foster. When Hopkinson snapped up Foster it presented Robin Martin-Jenkins with his 300th first class victim.

James Tredwell had his stout resistance ended after an hour and 20 minutes when seamer Ragheb Aga, who has played first-class cricket for Kenya, claimed his first wicket for Sussex, trapping Tredwell lbw.

Another of Sussex's new signings, Ryan Harris, picked up a fourth wicket when he had Graham Onions leg before. The Australian also had a hand in the first wicket of the day, taking Owais Shah at mid-on.