Sussex fall to Cowan

Sussex 140 and 356 Essex 384 and 115-0 Essex win by 10 wickets
Click to follow
Ashley Cowan's second impressive performance in successive matches propelled Essex from seventh to the upper reaches of the County Championship yesterday. The 22-year-old fast bowler condemned Sussex to defeat in three days with a career-best match return of 9 for 123 and has earned himself an invitation to watch the Test match at Lord's from the England balcony.

Cowan is unlikely to be fazed by his first taste of the atmosphere of international cricket. Things are running well for him at the moment. Against Surrey in the previous round he picked up eight wickets, and here on Thursday he put the skids under Sussex with career-best innings figures of 5 for 45.

Sussex made more of a fist of their second innings. With a reunion of former Sussex players here yesterday, honour demanded it, although it was generally slow going. With time and the weather on their side, Essex could afford to winkle their way through the Sussex resistance. Paul Grayson's containing left-arm spin was given a good outing from the sea end, leaving the fast bowlers to enjoy the downhill run. Peter Such's attacking off-spin was held back for a more pressing engagement.

Having begun the day 24 runs in arrears and five wickets in hand, Sussex eventually set Essex to make 113 for victory. The Newell brothers wiped off the deficit in the first half-hour and were within one run of posting a family 50 when Keith, the elder, edged Neil Williams low and fast to Nasser Hussain at third slip in the 18th over. His brother, shouldering arms, had his offstump knocked out by Cowan in the first over of the new ball, and Cowan then yorked Peter Moores to earn his best match figures.

That Essex were kept in the field until 2.40 owed everything to a 63- run stand between Vasbert Drakes and Amer Khan (66 balls for 12). Drakes' eight fours included four in five balls in a vigorous assault on Williams before lunch, but aiming to bring up his 50 in style he lost his off-stump to Ronnie Irani, who then had Khan caught at mid-on.

In contrast, Essex batted with a flourish. Paul Prichard deposited Drakes among the members for six early on, and with captains present and past batting handsomely, they cruised to their third win of the season.

For a time, it looked as if Prichard would get the runs off his own bat, but Graham Gooch, who is coming into form again, picked up the pace and, like Prichard, banked an unbeaten half-century.