Sussex v Worcestershire, Hove, 3rd day May 26, 2010

Martin-Jenkins fights to keep Sussex afloat

Worcestershire 464 and 76 for 2 lead Sussex 328 by 212 runs

Worcestershire's hopes of forcing victory over Sussex were frustrated by a combination of rain and an unbeaten half-century from Robin Martin-Jenkins at Hove. The visitors still closed the third day of their County Championship Division Two game in a strong position on 76 for 2 in their second innings, a lead of 212.

They might have been even better placed having reduced Sussex to 221 for 8 during the morning session. Instead, Martin-Jenkins, on the day he announced he would be retiring after 15 years in the game to become a schoolteacher, and Pakistani Yasir Arafat plundered 106 in just 77 minutes for the ninth wicket.

The effort came either side of a rain delay which took 37 overs off the day's allocation, to at least make sure the hosts avoided the follow-on. Martin-Jenkins cracked 10 boundaries in an unbeaten 66 from 70 balls, his fifth half-century of the season, although he was dropped in the gully on 15 by Phil Jacques - who grassed a difficult chance diving to his left. Arafat contributed 40 before he was taken by Jacques off Gareth Andrew.

Richard Jones finished things off when Corey Collymore was caught behind to give the outswing bowler career-best figures of 7 for 115 runs in front of England's chief selector Geoff Miller. Sussex had resumed on 188 for 4 but were soon in trouble as overcast skies helped Jones get the ball to swing during the morning.

He took three wickets in 11 balls with skipper Mike Yardy miscuing to mid-on in the second over of the day. Murray Goodwin, who had added only two to his overnight 109, and Ben Brown both fell to outswingers, Brown for a fourth-ball duck in his maiden Championship innings. When Luke Wright failed to pick Alan Richardson's slower ball Sussex still needed 95 to avoid the follow-on but Martin-Jenkins and Arafat adopted an attacking strategy from the off.

Sussex's hopes of saving the game were aided by the loss of 37 overs during the afternoon to rain and when they resumed Worcestershire's bowling was wayward with Andrew conceding 16 byes in his first three overs before he took the new ball and immediately removed Arafat, who sliced a drive to gully.

When Worcestershire batted again they lost both openers with Daryl Mitchell caught at short leg in Monty Panesar's second over before Martin-Jenkins ended the day on a high when Phil Jacques dragged onto his off-stump. But the allrounder's final day of Championship cricket at Hove still looks like it will involve a battle to help his side avoid a third successive Championship defeat.