Slow pitches do not make for good cricket, which somewhat defeats the object in the latest incarnation of the pyjama variety. The fluorescent stumps positively glowed in the evening sunshine yesterday as Sussex scrambled a tie amid high drama, but in truth a low-scoring contest had offered few illuminating moments.
Entertainment should be the essence of these National League slog-fights, but after Leicestershire had toiled to 164 for 8 in 45 overs Sussex found even that target beyond them, collapsing for the second time in 24 hours when victory appeared within their grasp.
This was not quite on the embarrassment scale of Sunday's loss of six wickets for 10 runs against Gloucestershire, but having passed 100 with 14 overs left and eight wickets in hand the Sharks should have consumed the Foxes with time in hand for a post-prandial cigar.
But then Richard Montgomerie, whose partnership with the in-form Michael Bevan appeared to be guiding Sussex towards a comfortable success, stretched for an out-swinger from Chris Lewis and was well taken by Neil Burns behind the stumps, a blow which was to become more painful still when Tony Cottee was run out and then Bevan, having completed a fifty off 75 balls, was bowled by Jonathan Dakin.
It was the Australian left-hander's first dismissal in four one-day match innings this season, a sequence that brought him 333 runs. It left Sussex, at 138 for 5, with 27 to get in five overs, a task that should still have been comfortable.
A miscue by Jamie Carpenter to mid-off preceded an awful run-out that brought about the demise of Robin Martin-Jenkins, after which the last over arrived with 10 wanted. Lewis bowled Nick Wilton and Umer Rashid to leave Sussex teetering at nine down, but a four over mid-off from Rashid in between meant two off the last ball would win the match. Mark Robinson, a confirmed rabbit, missed completely but Burns was well off target with his attempt at a run out and by scrambling a bye Robinson and James Kirtley pulled off an unlikely tie.
Leicestershire were quickly undermined by Martin-Jenkins's opening spell, losing Vince Wells and Trevor Ward with only 15 scored. Attaining any measure of fluency and rhythm was difficult but Darren Stevens came as close as anyone before a rather loose-looking stroke to midwicket ended a promising partnership with Ben Smith and ended Stevens's innings at 32, much to the batsman's obvious annoyance.
If his departure was a significant setback then the two that followed were equally damaging as Mark Robinson benefited from the hazards in the pitch, Smith and Darren Maddy perishing in turn with mistimed shots.
Jon Dakin gave a tame catch to mid-off to enable Robinson to equal his best one-day figures and it was only through Aftab Habib's careful unbeaten 39 that Leicestershire gave themselves something to defend.
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