Happy Holloway

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The Independent Online
Somerset 178 and 345

Sussex 227 and 156-8

THERE have been swings and roundabouts to go with this festival. Come Friday, and a century from Alan Wells, coping admirably with the leg-spin of Mushtaq Ahmed, had given Sussex a clear edge, the more so when Somerset were effectively 58 for five soon after tea in their second innings. With a two-day finish in prospect, though, Piran Holloway began taking the visitors for a ride.

And yesterday here he continued the good work. While cloud cover and a chill breeze made nonsense of the weather forecast, Holloway shone, adding the 41 necessary for his second first-class hundred to be left high, dry and happy on 129. By then, Somerset were already confidently eyeing a fourth successive Championship victory and Sussex, faced with a target of 297, all but obliged in three days.

Holloway, a 24-year-old Cornish left-hander, seized his opportunity well. The Recreation Ground echoed to applause for a painstaking innings spread across six hours he faced 348 balls and struck 13 boundaries. Nor was Holloway short of support. While Graham Rose fell leg before to Ed Giddins without adding to his overnight 49, the partnership of 94 had set Somerset on the road to recovery and there was more to come.

Wicketkeeper Rod Turner made 25 in a stand of 60 before becoming the game's 12th lbw victim. Mushtaq barely troubled the scorers, but Holloway continued putting runs on the board in a half-century ninth-wicket partnership with Jason Kerr and he added another 27 before Giddins wrapped up the innings by removing Harvey Trump.

Small wonder Sussex were feeling the pinch by now, and looking anxiously for signs of their captain, Wells, who had returned home on a flying visit to celebrate the arrival of a son.

Wells finally arrived at the crease at No 6 and put bat to ball, savaging 10 off successive deliveries from Trump. Mushtaq, though, was proving a handful, having Wells stumped for 43 and adding two more wickets to go with his six first time around. Sussex eventually survived the extra half-hour, but all that remains for them is an attack of the Monday morning blues, while Mushtaq looks to add to 50 first-class scalps for the summer.

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