De Silva cuts a dash

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The Independent Online
HENRY BLOFELD

reports from Hove

Sussex 323 and 6-1

Kent 361

The second day's play was remarkably similar to the first. On Thursday, Alan Wells' hundredstopped the spectators from nodding off in the hot sun; now it was Aravinda de Silva's splendid 117 which kept them on their toes.

Wells and de Silva could hardly be more of a contrast either. Wells, who is 6ft tall, is an upright batsman with a classical style while De Silva, who is 5ft 3in, is all darting footwork and flashing wrists. His strokes are full of excitement rather than measured elegance.

His hooking and pulling was a delight, although why Ed Giddins felt he had to bowl consistently short to him was a mystery.There were some lovely wristy square drives and also his own brand of square cut.

But Sussex have only themselves to blame as he should have been out when he was on six. He followed one from Franklyn Stephenson which left him without moving his feet and Peter Moores, behind the stumps, dived far to his right, just touching the ball and spoiling a slip catch.

De Silva faced 164 balls and hit 19 fours and one six - a pull off Ian Salisbury - before he was lbw playing half forward to Jason Lewry, bowling left arm over the wicket. By then, Kent knew that they had acquired an excellent replacement for Carl Hooper.

Much of the rest of the batting was made to seem hard work by comparison, although after tea Mark Ealham was an exception. After a shaky start against Salisbury's leg spin, Ealham began to play some handsome strokes on both sides of the wicket.

While Stephenson was the most threatening of the seam bowlers, Lewry, a product of local league cricket, was also impressive. He is a tall man with a big pair of shoulders who has the ability to swing the ball back into the right-hander.

Salisbury was the best of the others and deserved more than two for 74 from 22 overs. He bowled with great enthusiasm, although it would be nice to see him give the ball a little more air and to try and spin it more.

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