Sussex coast to easy win over Middlesex
In defeating Middlesex so comprehensively in their Norwich Union League match, Sussex showed their all-round ability which has served them so well in both forms of cricket this season.
Despite being in the middle of the Second Division table with 30 points, Sussex have put themselves in a position to challenge for promotion with this victory. They are already comfortably on top of the second division in the four-day game and their performance at Old Deer Park today highlighted their strength.
To reach their modest target, they needed just 28.1 overs today as Richard Montgomerie guided them with a steady innings of 34 not out. Along with Murray Goodwin, 20 not out, he put on 43 in their unbroken stand for the third wicket.
None of the six bowlers used by Middlesex could find penetration although Tim Bloomfield, coming on first change, claimed both Sussex wickets that fell in a space of four overs. The first went on 46 and then on 67.
It showed in the end that there just were not enough runs on the board for Middlesex to bowl at.
Earlier Middlesex, second from bottom in the second division, showed clearly why they are struggling in the Norwich Union League this season. They lasted only 37 overs, managing 109 with the help of 32 extras.
Having been asked to bat on a slow pitch and in overcast conditions, none of their batsmen appeared to settle in. With tidy, accurate bowling Sussex kept the pressure on as wickets fell at regular intervals.
They were two down for 27 after the first wicket had gone in the first over. A revival seemed on the way as Owais Shah and Ed Joyce put on 35, the highest stand of the innings. But with the total 62 Joyce spliced his shot to be caught at cover and ten runs later Middlesex lost their fourth wicket.
Fine off spin bowling by Mark Davis gave him four for 24 as he cut through the middle order. He had Shah, the top scorer with 23, held at long on and then took two wickets in his sixth over, both with the total of 92.
Stephen Fleming was caught driving to mid-on and Chad Keegan was bowled around his legs after he had lifted the off spinner over wide mid-wicket for the only six of the innings. Davis finally wrapped up the innings, bowling Tim Bloomfield with one that kept low.