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Fighting Sussex frustrate Indians

Indians 388 for 7 dec and 21 for 2 lead Sussex 300 for 6 dec (Hodd 106*, Yardy 53) by 109 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
How they were out

The Indians dominated the first two days of their warm-up match but Andy Hodd led a stubborn fightback on the third as Sussex, and rain, ensured that the chance of a result was rather unlikely. Hodd scored his maiden first-class century and led Sussex to 300 for 6 before Michael Yardy declared, giving the Indians a lead of 88. After that solid batting effort, James Kirtley and Jason Lewry rattled the Indian batsmen during a short burst before stumps and reduced them to 21 for 2.

After two days of sunny weather, it began raining minutes before the scheduled start at 11.00 am and conditions did not improve through the morning. Over four hours of play were lost when the players finally took the field at 3.15pm.

Sreesanth continued where he left off last evening and bowled an outstanding opening spell. He consistently hit a good length, extracted sharp bounce and got the ball to swing considerably away from the right-handers. RP Singh wasn't as controlled though. He tried bowling to a plan, angling the ball across the right-handers from over the wicket, trying to swing it back into them to hit the pad. His execution was poor for he often strayed down leg side. However, he was difficult to play when he got it right and unsettled the batsmen with sharp in-swing and well-directed bouncers. Ranadeb Bose, playing his first game on the tour, was the least impressive of the seamers. He also found swing but his line was too wide outside the off stump to trouble the batsmen. And when he made an effort to bowl straighter, he was unable to generate as much swing.

Hodd played Kumble confidently, driving him twice to the midwicket boundary. He calmly moved into the nineties before suffering several nervous moments on the verge of his century. Laxman, standing in for Rahul Dravid who was nursing a calf strain, took the second new ball with Hodd on 99 and Sreesanth backed up the decision with an outstanding maiden over, beating Hodd's outside edge several times

Both Hodd and Martin-Jenkins were tested by some terrific deliveries in the afternoon but MS Dhoni had an equally torrid time behind the stumps. Sreesanth and RP Singh sent down deliveries that swung prodigiously after passing the batsmen and Dhoni frequently struggled to collect them cleanly. Sreesanth could have had a wicket early on but Dhoni was late in moving towards an outside edge from Martin-Jenkins, on 6, and dropped what would have been a comfortable catch for Yuvraj Singh at first slip.

Sussex began the day trailing by 242 runs with just five wickets in hand with Hodd on 21 and Martin-Jenkins yet to score. Hodd was the more aggressive of the two, cutting and driving through cover point whenever offered width outside the off stump. A couple of his boundaries were streaky edges over slips and gully but, in all fairness, he would have had more had the wet outfield not thwarted several well-timed drives through the off side.

Martin-Jenkins overcame a nervous start and grew in confidence as the session progressed. His first boundary was a crisp drive through covers off Sreesanth and by the time tea approached he was settled enough to use his feet and loft Anil Kumble over mid-on.

The Indians could have had a wicket soon after tea but Kumble, running backwards to catch a top-edged pull from Martin-Jenkins off his own bowling, lost balance when he collided with the stumps at the non-striker's end and messed up a simple catch. Martin-Jenkins went on to make 42, his highest first-class score of the season. He added 125 for the sixth wicket with Hodd before he was stumped down the leg side off Kumble.

Hodd played Kumble confidently, driving him twice to the midwicket boundary. He calmly moved into the nineties before suffering several nervous moments on the verge of his century. Laxman, standing in for Rahul Dravid who was nursing a calf strain, took the second new ball with Hodd on 99 and Sreesanth backed up the decision with an outstanding maiden over, beating Hodd's outside edge several times. Hodd played out 13 dot balls on 99 before RP Singh offered a loose delivery on the pads that he flicked to the square leg fence and raised his arms in triumph. Sussex declared shortly afterwards, and tested the Indians with a few awkward overs before stumps.

Wasim Jaffer never looked comfortable and failed for the second time in the match when he was hit on the pad by one that swung back into him from Lewry. Dhoni, who also failed in the first innings, began aggressively by cutting Lewry twice through point for four. It didn't last though and Lewry had his second wicket when Dhoni tried to pull a short ball that got big on him and top-edged it to Chris Nash at long leg. Dinesh Karthik and Yuvraj, promoted to No 3, took India through to stumps without further damage.

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Sussex 4th innings Partnerships

WktRunsPlayers
1st1RR MontgomerieCD Nash
2nd17RR MontgomerieMH Yardy
3rd28RR MontgomerieCD Hopkinson
4th50RR MontgomerieMA Thornely
5th10RR MontgomerieAJ Hodd
6th14RSC Martin-JenkinsAJ Hodd
7th3RSC Martin-JenkinsOP Rayner
8th29Saqlain MushtaqRSC Martin-Jenkins
9th21RJ KirtleyRSC Martin-Jenkins
10th17JD LewryRSC Martin-Jenkins