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Seales strikes as Robinson seeks rhythm in curtailed Hove opener

Northants battle through to 95 for 2 after being inserted on soggy southcoast day

Jayden Seales struck twice on Sussex debut, Sussex vs Northamptonshire, County Championship, Division Two, Hove, April 5, 2024

Jayden Seales struck twice on Sussex debut  •  Getty Images

Northamptonshire 95 for 2 (Seales 2-33) vs Sussex
Northamptonshire had the better of the half day's play that was possible on the opening of the Vitality County Championship match at Hove. They lost the toss but their batters battled hard and reached 95 for 2 when bad light - with no option for floodlights - drove the players from the field just after 6pm.
Play started four hours late, at 3pm, with 51 overs scheduled but there were only 38.1 bowled. The good news for Sussex - and England - is that Ollie Robinson, in only his second first-class game since last July, bowled with an easy rhythm and some pace and carry from the Cromwell Road end.
He opened the bowling down the hill after new Sussex captain John Simpson had won the toss and chosen to bowl under sullen skies. It was surprising that Robinson was taken off after bowling just four overs - his figures were 4-1-9-0 but his workload is being managed at this stage of the season.
When Robinson opened the bowling again after tea he was even more impressive, with a spell of 5-3-5-0, and looked back to his best speeds. The only frustration for Robinson, and the other Sussex bowlers, was that there was so little movement with the Kookaburra ball.
Northants were making their first visit to Hove for three years and the first runs of the season at Hove came when the left-handed opener Emilio Gay drove Robinson wide of mid-on for four. But Sussex broke through with the first ball of the fourth over when Gay glanced Jayden Seales down the leg-side and Simpson made a distance to his right to pull off a fine catch.
Northants captain Luke Procter showed his intent when he pulled Seales over the square-leg boundary for a nonchalant six. And Procter was given solid support by makeshift opener Justin Broad at the other end. Broad played an excellent back-foot drive through the covers for four off Danny Lamb, the allrounder who - along with Seales and Simpson - was one of three players making his first-class debut for Sussex.
At tea, Northants had reached 58 for 1 from 24 overs, with Broad on 23 and Procter 29 not out. After the interval, it was again Seales who made the breakthrough, having Broad, who was only half-forward, lbw for 27, to make it 66 for 2. Broad had hit five handsome fours in his 76-ball innings.
But Procter and Karun Nair - who scored such an impressive 150 against Surrey at The Oval last season - carried Northants to the close without any further loss.

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County Championship Division Two