Neither teams nor crowd observed a minute's silence in memory of the 17th Duke of Norfolk, who died on Monday night, before the match got under way. His standard, flying at half-mast over Arundel Castle, was all that the late Earl Marshal of England's family, the Fitzalan-Howards, desired by way of acknowledgement.
There was also precious little ceremony about the way Sussex went about bowling out the reigning county champions. The last time Sussex fielded a team without their two strike bowlers, Jason Lewry and James Kirtley, they lost by an innings, oddly enough to Yorkshire at Scarborough in August 1997.
But to judge from the way their upper order failed to get to grips with a makeshift Sussex attack that included Mark Robinson, who allegedly retired from the first-class game last season, Yorkshire are unlikely to repeat that feat. Even without Kirtley (on England duty) and Lewry (dropped) Sussex mostly held sway.
Robinson, who had played against his former county in that match five years ago, was back to torment again, picking up three useful wickets, but there was very able support from Billy Taylor with a couple and Robin Martin-Jenkins.
True, Darren Lehmann, back after a brief recall to international duty with Australia, ground out a two-hour half century – his third consecutive score past 50 in the championship. He struck 10 fours, adding 96 for the fifth wicket with Victor Craven, but generally the resistance was too patchy, and did not pressurise the Sussex attack.
Indeed not until the eighth wicket pairing of Richard Dawson and Andy Gray did Sussex find the going remotely tough. The two youngsters chipped away all afternoon to compile 72 runs between them, earning Yorkshire, who had lost five of their first six championship matches this year, two invaluable batting bonus points.
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