Sussex show some spirit

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Gloucestershire 320 & 271-6 Sussex 324

There was a time in mid-afternoon yesterday when Gloucestershire were in some trouble. Amer Khan had taken three wickets with his leg breaks and Gloucestershire were 101 for 4, only 97 ahead. Another couple of wickets then and Sussex would have been on course for their second Championship victory of the season.

Mark Alleyne came in to join Tim Hancock and they saw the moment pass. Batting with good sense, they put on 78 in 29 overs and the recovery was continued by Alleyne and Jack Russell.

Gloucestershire may still be bowled out, but the likelihood on a good pitch is that Alleyne will have to declare this morning. With only one day left, the chances are that the match will run out of time and end in a draw.

For Gloucestershire to have their best chance of winning, which they need to do if they are to maintain their challenge for the championship, they must leave Sussex a manageable target and then try to keep them interested in the hope that they will self-destruct.

This has been a disappointing match for Gloucestershire, who will have hoped to have disposed of Sussex without too much trouble. On the other hand, Sussex will have been delighted by the way the match has gone and their progress continues to speak volumes for the new spirit at Hove.

In spite of taking the new ball in the first over of the day, Gloucestershire were unable to separate Peter Moores and Justin Bates until they had put on 104 for the eighth wicket and taken Sussex into the lead.

Nick Trainor was leg before playing no stroke to the second ball of Gloucestershire's second innings when Paul Jarvis brought one back into him. Then Hancock and Matt Windows took the score to 69 before Windows was bowled trying to cut one from Khan which may have kept a fraction low.

At 93, Khan beat Matthew Church in the air and had him caught at mid- off. Soon after, Bobby Dawson pushed half forward and was caught low down and one-handed at silly point. As his confidence grew, Khan gave the ball air and began to give his leg-breaks rather more of a tweak.

The score had reached 179 when Hancock was bowled, but Jack Russell made sure there were no further embarrassments for Gloucestershire.