Wright's century builds huge lead
Sussex 171 and 474 for 5 (Wright 155*, Nash 90, Martin-Jenkins 73* ) lead MCC 205 by 440 runs
Luke Wright hit an unbeaten 155, his highest first-class score, on a rain-hit third day at Lord's as Sussex extended their lead to 440 over MCC. He added 179 with Robin Martin-Jenkins following a 108-run stand with Matt Prior for the fifth wicket during the 63 overs possible between the showers.
Wright was in the thick of the action yesterday when he struck Steve Kirby on the head with a very sharp bouncer, forcing him to spend the night in hospital. Kirby was discharged with a clean bill of health around lunchtime and returned to the ground before being taken home and won't take any further part in the match. Today, the only danger came if anyone got in the way of Wright's powerful driving and cutting but with a bitingly cold wind blowing across the ground it wasn't the day for fielding heroics.
In his brief career Wright has shown his explosive batting in the one-day arena for club and country. The next stage of his development is to build innings in the longer format and this was a strong start to an important season. His century came off 145 balls when he drove a low full toss down the ground off Graham Onions, surpassing his previous best of 100 made against Loughborough University on his Sussex debut four years ago.
"It's always nice to get some early runs. Especially a hundred at Lord's, it is always special," said Wright. "I haven't had too many friendlies since I got back [from Abu Dhabi] after having an injection in my shoulder. I just want to try and build on what has happened during the winter. One-day cricket went well last year, but it's time to start concentrating on performing in Championship mode and try and break into the top six, to be a true allrounder."
Wright had moved quickly into his stride with a couple of straight drives and was quick to latch onto anything wide, while his one six was a pull over the invitingly short Grandstand boundary. He picked off James Tredwell towards the short side as well and, after reaching his century, cut loose adding his third fifty off 32 balls including 20 off one over against Adil Rashid. However, Rashid didn't back down and returned for more during another encouraging performance.
Prior, who has spoken ahead of the season about the possibility of becoming a specialist batsman if it means an England recall, found life tougher and lived a slightly charmed existence. He could have been run out on 15 from midwicket but the throw was wide, then edged wide of slip off Rashid, operating from the Pavilion End for the first time. A flashing drive went close to point before a flat-footed waft at the next delivery presented a simple catch to his opposite number, James Foster.
Martin-Jenkins made use of any width on offer to pepper the off side to bring up his half century off 55 balls and continued to play with a freedom he wouldn't be afforded in a Championship match. Bad light cut into the final session, but for those hardy few who had hung around - and stewards outnumbered them - they were given five overs late in the day allowing Wright time to reach his extra milestone.
Chris Nash had appeared on course for his maiden first-class century the first of the season - an honour that eventually went to Ryan ten Doeschate in Essex's match against Cambridge University - but lost his off stump to Onions for 90. It was Nash's 13th fifty and he has yet to crack the century mark.
Nash's wicket followed soon after his captain, Chris Adams, had lobbed a simple return catch back to the persevering Charlie Shreck to miss out on useful time in the middle ahead of Sussex's first Championship match against Hampshire next week. Depending on how serious they are about winning a declaration should following in the morning, weather permitting giving Sussex a day to complete a victory which would then send into the serious business in good heart.
Andrew McGlashan is a staff writer at Cricinfo