Nash cashes in against favourite foes
Sussex 326 for 3 (Nash 157, Goodwin 96*) v Somerset
Twice this season Chris Nash has achieved career-best scores - and twice he has done so against Somerset. This is not entirely connected to batting at Taunton, where everybody relishes going to the wicket, for his innings of 134 in June was at Hove. Now, he struck 157, which on any other ground could be considered potentially a match-winning contribution.
At Taunton, such a score is invariably the precursor to a number of centuries. It was not exactly a dominant piece of batting, for he made 50 pre-lunch in conditions in which the ball did not deviate through the air or off the pitch, and 48 in 33 overs before tea. This after being dropped at short leg off the offspin of Omari Banks when on 27. The fielder, Arul Suppiah, eventually held a far more difficult catch at backward point to remove him.
In all, Nash made his runs off 284 balls with 23 fours and a six that took him to 150, hooked off Charl Willoughby with a dominance that was not always an aspect of his innings. Indeed, this was conceivably the most circumspect start to a championship match at Taunton this season, not least because Mike Yardy eked out 15 in 19 overs before he was caught at the wicket off one from Willoughby that straightened, and Ed Joyce was not his customary fluent self in making 37 before falling over to the off side and being leg before to Peter Trego.
Goodwin's innings, an unbeaten 96 including 13 fours, provided some impetus at a time when this was much needed, but he, too, should have been dismissed at an early stage. Before he had scored, Craig Kieswetter missed a relatively straightforward chance down the leg side off Zander de Bruyn - the kind that he will look to hold if, as expected, he plays international cricket for either England, for whom he will qualify, or his native South Africa within the next couple of years.
This was the third time these two sides had played each other within the past five days. Justin Langer doubtless was still irked by having been defeated in the Twenty20 final at Edgbaston at the weekend, a contributory factor, perhaps, in his irritation with the crowd when he eventually brought Max Waller on to bowl for the 62nd over. Here is one of the most promising legspinners in county cricket, a youngster with more of a future, it could reasonably be stated, than Banks or Arul Suppiah, both of whom were deployed ahead of him.
The former Australia opener, author of a damning indictment of English cricketers which may not have gone down too well in these parts, flung his cap to the ground and glared at the Somerset members. Later, his intense gaze was fixed on them again when his side dawdled in preparation for the final over of the day and received further cat-calls. After close of play, however, he said he would not be critical of the crowd. He still feels his Somerset side can become first division champions, but they need better days than this in the field.