August 17, 2000

Sussex escape pitch penalty

PPP Healthcare County Championship

Sussex have escaped punishment over the condition of the Saffrons pitch even though 19 wickets fell on the first day of the Championship match against Northamptonshire yesterday.

ECB pitches inspector Mike Denness has marked the wicket "below average" after consultation with the umpires at the end of yesterday's play, but no further action will be taken unless it deteriorates as the match progresses.

Sussex added two more runs this morning before Chris Adams fell lbw to Darren Cousins for 84, giving the hosts a first innings lead of 43. Northants lost both openers in establishing an advantage of just three runs.

Adrian Rollins was taken at third slip to give James Kirtley his seventh wicket of the match and Matthew Hayden was brilliantly caught at square leg in Robin Martin-Jenkins' first over.

Northants' lead was just 22 when seamer Mark Robinson removed David Sales and Russell Warren lbw with successive deliveries, and by lunch the visitors were 76-4.