May 6, 2012

LV= County Championship, Sunday May 6

5pm: Alan Gardner at Middlesex v Worcestershire

5pm: Alan Gardner at Middlesex v Worcestershire

Was Worcestershire captain Daryl Mitchell right to gamble in pursuit of victory? He certainly thinks so.

2.40pm: George Dobell at Sussex v West Indies

The floodlights are on and there is a surprisingly large crowd at Hove.

There was one moment, as the West Indies team formed a huddle, when they looked very like penguins trying to keep out of the wind. They embraced the warm-up with varying levels of enthusiasm ranging from the passionately keen - Darren Sammy - to the distinctly underwhelmed - Darren Bravo.

This also represents a decent opportunity for a few Sussex players to impresses. Chris Liddle enjoys a rare chance to play first-class red ball cricket - he fails to hit the seam enough, I’m told, so is seen as a limited-overs specialist - while Amjad Khan will be playing against the side which he faced in his only Test.

2.20pm: Alan Gardner at Middlesex v Worcestershire

As Worcestershire stumble towards a heavy defeat – they’re now eight down – a Belgian interloper to the Lord’s media centre has been asking why Worcestershire agreed to the arrangement described below. He also wondered how the game was sustainable, given the small handful of spectators dotting the white seating areas. The first question was probably easier to answer ...

It turns out our man from Leuven is an adherent of the game, though, and has even been to Lord’s before, to watch Middlesex play Rajasthan Royals in an exhibition game a couple of years ago. He plays in Belgium, for the recently founded Leuven Cricket Club, though admits the lbw law remains a bit of a mystery. Interestingly, he says his favourite form of the game is Test cricket, describing the IPL, which is playing on the screens in the background, as “not my piece of cake” and “a lot of slogging with no finesse”.

So there you have it, the future of Test cricket solved. All we have to do is convert the rest of Belgium and point them in the direction of the ICC.

2.10pm: George Dobell at Sussex v West Indies

West Indies will bat when play finally begins here at 2.45pm. Bearing in mind that they only have XI fit players here, I presume the selection meeting was quite straightforward. Play can continue until 7pm.

I had an interesting chat with Dave Brooks, the Sussex CEO, the Morgan report. Suffice to say, it seems more unlikely by the day that Morgan’s recommendations for the reduction in the championship schedule will be accepted.

1.15pm: George Dobell at Sussex v West Indies

The appetite for play is diminishing by the moment at Hove. The umpires have just inspected and decided that they will hold an inspection at 2pm. It means that, at best, the West Indies will have five-and-a-half days cricket ahead of the Test series. The forecast for later in the week isn’t promising, either.

Those on Twitter may have seen that Sussex’s Luke Wright fears he may have picked up Dengue Fever in India. He has just had some blood tests.

The beer tent - there is a beer festival in Hove at present - is doing much better business than the ice cream van. The steel band looks cold, miserable and, having tired to playing Dreadlock Holiday and other suitably upbeat music, will shortly revert to playing the Johnny Cash version of Hurt.

1pm: Alan Gardner at Middlesex v Worcestershire

At lunch, Worcestershire are not so much staring down the barrel as making a close-range inspection of the trigger mechanism. They are five down with 73 on the board, chasing 283 after an enterprising double declaration overnight that saw Middlesex forfeit their second innings in order that both sides could pursue a result.

Worcestershire’s bravery soon began to look foolhardy, however, as Steven Finn, Tim Murtagh and Gareth Berg kept up a relentless line and length under heavy cloud cover. Murtagh claimed both openers, Michael Klinger lbw to one going back up the slope and Daryll Mitchell edging to second slip, before Berg capitalised on the pressure built up by Finn by dismissing Vikram Solanki in his second over from the Pavilion End.

Toby Roland-Jones had Moeen Ali – like Solanki – caught by Andrew Strauss at first slip in his first over before James Cameron and Matt Pardoe added 35 at a run a ball, to bring a little colour to Worcestershire cheeks. But Berg scalped Pardoe, caught at the wicket, to leave the home side in jolly spirits over their midday repast.

12.25pm: George Dobell at Sussex v West Indies

There is a bit of rain in the air, but the teams are keen to ‘give it a go’ at 1.40pm. The chief executive and groundsman have just taken me out to the pitch to underline the fact that it is very wet. There is a real possibility that, having given it ‘a go’ for 10 minutes, the game will again be abandoned for the day.

Just spoken to the ice cream man. He hasn’t made a single sale yet.

11.20am: George Dobell at Sussex v West Indies

Morning from Hove.

We’re due to start at 1.40pm here. It has rained over night and Dave Brooks, the chief executive at Sussex, has (very politely) taken issue with my suggestion that there could have been play yesterday. It certainly has been wet down here over recent weeks, but there really didn’t seem much of an appetite to get out there. It's just as cold and dark today and, as of yet, none of the trio of absent West Indies players has arrived.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

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