Milestones for Murray, Mushtaq and Martyn
Murray Goodwin records his maiden triple-century to put the icing on a wonderful day for Sussex
When you've got a maiden Championship title at stake, there's nothing quite like sealing it in style. And in Mushtaq Ahmed and Murray Goodwin, Sussex found two players with the perfect sense of occasion.
On the first day, Mushtaq became the first bowler for five years to take 100 wickets in a County Championship season. He reached the landmark with his first wicket, that of Leicestershire's Brad Hodge with the last ball before lunch, on his way to 4 for 71.
The last bowlers to take 100 wickets in a season were Andrew Caddick for Somerset and Courtney Walsh for Gloucestershire in 1998. The last spinner to reach 100 was Northamptonshire's Anil Kumble in 1995.
Mushtaq's efforts put the destiny of the Championship beyond reasonable doubt, but it took a supreme innings from Goodwin to set the champagne corks a-popping. When Chris Adams finally declared at 614 for 4, Goodwin had lamped a wonderful 335 not out. It was the first triple-century of his career, and appropriately enough for such an historic day, the highest first-class score in Sussex's history. The previous record of 333 had belonged to KS Duleepsinhji, set against Northants at Hove in 1930.
At Headingley there's plenty at stake as well, with Yorkshire needing a victory to secure promotion to the first division. Damien Martyn duly followed up the fastest first-class century of the season by reaching 200 in record time against Gloucestershire. Martyn's hundred came off 65 balls, with 15 fours and four sixes, beating the previous-fastest, Bilal Shafayat's 100 in 73 balls for Nottinghamshire against Durham UCCE on the second day of the season.
Martyn's innings looks likely to secure him AON's £5000 prize and the Walter Lawrence Trophy for the season's fastest hundred. If so, it will be the first time in the history of a competition which started in 1934 that the winning innings has been scored at Headingley.
Martyn's double-hundred took only 128 balls (including 32 fours and seven sixes). Again, it was the fastest of the season, beating the previous best of 134 balls, set only last week by Ian Blackwell for Somerset against Derbyshire.