Lancashire v Sussex, Old Trafford, 2nd day September 3, 2009

Martin-Jenkins cuts down Lancashire

John Ward at Old Trafford

Sussex 11 for 0 trail Lancashire 236 (Loye 58, du Plessis 54, Chapple 39, Martin-Jenkins 5-43) by 225 runs Scorecard

Another rain-interrupted day ended with Sussex perhaps the happier of the two sides, but probably not betting on eventual victory. For Lancashire Francoise du Plessis and Glen Chapple shared a valuable partnership, but the man of the day was Robin Martin-Jenkins of Sussex, whose incisive seam bowling cut Lancashire off for 236.

After much rain during the night, the outfield was so sodden that the entire morning session was lost and play did not start until 1.30. The weather was overcast, with occasional bursts of sun, but what was most unpleasant for everybody was the strong wind.

Lancashire began the day at 131 for 5, with du Plessis the only specialist batsman left. They began cautiously, until Kyle Hogg cut a ball from Dwayne Smith hard for four. Minutes later, though, there was a hopeless mix-up between the two batsmen, as Smith from cover easily ran out Hogg for 6.

Then came a solid partnership between du Plessis and the captain, Chapple, who was playing his first match for seven weeks after an injury. For most of the time it was sheer graft, as runs were none too easy to come by, but they did keep the board moving, and both impressed on occasions with powerful straight drives for four, mainly off the leg-spinner Piyush Chawla. They also had to contend with on-off rain, some of which they played through and some forcing the players to leave the field. When rain caused tea to be taken earlier, their efforts had recovered the score to 216 for 6.

After tea, though, Sussex reasserted themselves in the form of Martin-Jenkins. du Plessis immediately reached his 50 off 115 balls, but then lost Chapple, who swatted a ball straight to Mike Yardy at first slip; emphasizing the value of teamwork, Yardy parried it up and Ollie Rayner next to him easily completed the catch. Sajid Mahmood was adjudged lbw first ball, although it appeared to be slightly high.

du Plessis, who was becoming a little bogged down, drove a catch straight at cover, the ball perhaps bouncing higher than he expected, and finally Oliver Newby was well taken by Rayner in the slips - the fifth catch of the innings to be taken there, and there were also a couple of sharp misses. Lancashire had crumbled to 236 all out, and Martin-Jenkins finished with 5 for 43, the last four taken in only 13 balls after tea. The other bowlers generally did a sound job, though Chawla did not find conditions to suit him and was expensive, mainly suffering at the hands of du Plessis and Chapple.

Four more overs were lost to rain between the innings. Sussex began their reply with Joe Gatting, nephew of Mike, accompanying Yardy to the wicket on his championship debut. They survived without alarm until the sixth over, when the heaviest shower of the day drove the players from the field for the final time. With more unsettled weather forecast, an eventual draw seems a certainty.