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April 13, 2013
Sussex 356 (Brown 93, Joyce 92, Nash 80) beat Yorkshire 96 (Jordan 6-48) and 248 (Ballance 63, Jaques 57, Magoffin 5-51) by an innings and 12 runs
The last rites were quickly administered at but the funeral may last a week or so. The faithful Yorkshire supporters who turn up for matches at Headingley much as Roman Catholics go to church on days of obligation had only a 25-minute service to attend on the fourth morning of this match.
Wickets for Chris Jordan and Steve Magoffin sealed Yorkshire's fate and sent Andrew Gale's side down to their first four-day defeat in 19 matches, a run which stretches back to 2011. Gary Ballance played with the assured competence which suggests that he should be batting higher than No 6 in the order but apart from that there was little to cheer the Leeds crowd on a sunny April morning.
Sussex provide ray of hope
Inevitably the "sack the lot" faction will be in good voice - they normally are on both side of the Pennines - but the challenge for Yorkshire coach Jason Gillespie will be isolate the areas which need improvement without engaging in major surgery so early in the season. It is also important to recognise the many excellent qualities possessed by Ed Joyce's team and this was something which Gillespie was quick to do.
"Sussex batted better than us and they bowled better than us and when that happens you tend to go down in games," he said. "It is very disappointing.
"To get bowled out for 96 is unacceptable," he added, referring to Yorkshire's supine first-innings display. "We all acknowledge that and we've had a couple of really good chats as a team. The batters put their hand up and said it wasn't good enough. We have to find a way not just to survive but to thrive out there and score runs. We just didn't execute our shots the way we should have. There's no excuse really."
Yorkshire now have a Roses friendly - if such a thing exists before tough undertaking away to Durham in their next Division One game, a match where the batsmen are likely to undergo another fierce examination.
Gillespie's frank comments may be well received by Yorkshire supporters who have little patience with cliché-mongers. They will not have wanted their coach to hide behind platitudes in his explanation of why the White Rose failed to perform in their first competitive match of the 2013 season.
"It's far too early to make too many comparisons between Division One and Division Two," he said. "But we knew from the start of the season that the standard of cricket was gong to be very good and that it was going to challenge us. It challenged us here and we weren't up to it. We've got to find a way to turn that around.
"We're not going to be making wholesale changes, but we will be looking at our batting order and seeing how we can best utilise it. At the moment we're very comfortable with Gary Ballance batting at six. Andrew Gale has missed out this game and he's as disappointed as anyone but his form in pre-season has been excellent. He's hitting the ball very well."
"From a bowling point of view we bowled four good balls and then we bowled a bad ball. Not putting a score on the board led to the bowlers searching for wickets and we learned that if we stray away from our game plan a little bit we can get punished."
Gillespie's comments were backed up by Yorkshire's No 3 Phil Jaques, whose determined 57 in the second innings was one of the bright spots of an otherwise dismal, technically-deficient performance by Gale's side
"Sussex showed the way to bowl on this wicket and they were relentless in the first innings. They were just at us all the time," said Jaques. "We were just not good enough plain and simple on the first day. But I think we are good enough to handle the First Division and I don't think you should read too much into the first game of the season.
"We've shown that we can play some good cricket in the past and I'm sure we've got another 10 or 20% of improvement in us. The more we can get out there and play, the better we're going to be. We showed that we needed more practice on this sort of wickets. These early-season wicket will be different to any you're going to play on in the rest of the season."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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