Twose takesover

Cricket: Warwickshire 248 and 154-1 Sussex 361
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WITH Northamptonshire winning on Friday to extend their lead over second-placed Warwickshire in the championship, rain was the last thing the home side needed yesterday. But rain it did in mid-afternoon, just when Nick Knight and Roger Twose were turning the game Warwickshire's way.

The way Sussex had ground out a first-innings lead of 113 determined the course of the day. Recoup the loss and establish an initiative were Warwickshire's orders and the second-wicket pair, Knight and Twose, did just that after the early dismissal of Andy Moles. It took 43 overs to satisfy the first requirement, but against four seamers on an unexpectedly bouncy pitch, batting was no sinecure.

Three times in an over from Paul Jarvis, Knight was fortunate not to lose his wicket as the ball flashed past his bat. Twose was even more fortunate not to lose his head to the same bowler immediately after lunch. Being left-handed, and having the ball slanted across them, allowed Twose and Knight no initial room for risk-taking and it took them two and three hours respectively to reach 50.

The day began dramatically with two wickets in the first two overs, one apiece for either side. Sussex had added just one run to their overnight total when Ed Giddens tamely guided the fourth ball of the morning into the safe hands of Knight at second slip.

Only the umpire knows why Moles was not lbw to Franklyn Stephenson's opening delivery of the Warwickshire innings. Perhaps the ball did just too much off the seam. Certainly the big West Indian fast bowler looked disgruntled, and Moles must have expected a retaliatory bouncer next delivery. It did not come. Not then. It came the ball after and Moles did no more than lob it in the direction of Jarvis in the gully.

This seemed to encourage Stephenson unduly, for in general he pitched too short to exploit any uncertainties in the pitch. Jarvis was the pick of the Sussex attack, full of aggression and pace and lacking only in luck. He realised there was a place to pitch the ball and time and again he hit it. Time and again the batsmen somehow failed to make contact.

When 35, Knight added to Jarvis's agony by bisecting the two slips, and the howl of frustration escaping from the bowler's lips was more understandable than the petulance later displayed when his appeal against Knight for a slip catch found no favour with the umpire.