Donald's extra class and pace too much for Sussex

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Sussex returned to reality here yesterday and it was every bit as grim as they expected. Undermined by a sustained, hostile spell of fast bowling by Allan Donald they were all out for 63, the fourth lowest total of the season, but bad light spared them further anguish when they followed on 164 behind.

They followed their fairy tale victory in the NatWest by dismissing Warwickshire in only 59 overs, but must have known that anything they could do Donald could do better and so it proved.

Donald, bowling fast and straight, produced a searing opening spell. Although he took only two wickets he created such self-doubt that Sussex lost six batsmen in the space of 27 deliveries.

The pitch, having spend most of the previous day under cover, was more responsive for seam bowling and well though the Sussex trio of Vasbert Drakes, Alex Edwards and Mark Robinson had exploited it, it was always going to ally itself to Donald's extra pace.

Thus it was an educational, if somewhat unnerving episode for Toby Peirce and Rajesh Rao who must be the most inexperienced opening pair in the country. To their credit they held Donald at bay for 11 overs, but he went past their bats frequently with a series of deliveries that thudded into Keith Piper's gloves at head height.

Just when it seemed it might be one of those sessions when batsmen play and miss rather than get a nick, Peirce gloved him to the wicketkeeper where upon Bill Athey received, second ball, a beauty which held up to hit his off stump; it probably would have bowled him if he had been 250 not out.

Off the first ball of the next over Rao risked a single to Trevor Penney at cover and was run out by a direct hit and when Donald took a breather his figures read 7-4-3-2.

But the damage, both actual and psychological, had been done. Dougie Brown and Graeme Welch, though both operating to a tight line, must have been surprised at the ease with which they swept through a decidedly limp, apprehensive-looking middle order; Sussex were all out in 26 overs after Donald had returned to pick up two more wickets.

Warwickshire themselves had their share of problems earlier and did not bat with too much selectivity against the moving ball. Mark Wagh held things together for 43 overs, enabling Neil Smith to reel off a series of handsome drives in his 38.

The most crucial knock, though, was played by Andy Moles, broken finger and all, who returned to add 22 from 15 balls which, as events turned out, was enough to ensure Sussex batted again.