Middlesex overtake decent target to overcome Sussex
MIDDLESEX chased a target of 370 to win their third match in four in the second division of the County Championship at Hove.
A partnership of 209 in 49 overs between Sam Robson and captain Peter Handscomb, and then one of 99 between Max Holden and Martin Andersson in 13, saw Middlesex achieve their eighth highest fourth innings total to win a match and leave Sussex – without a win in five games – demoralised.
When the heroic Ollie Robinson dismissed both Handscomb (79) and Robson, Sussex still thought they had a chance of saving the match.
Robinson returned to the attack at 207 for one and immediately had Handscomb lbw. At 249 for two, Middlesex, needing 121 from 20 overs, were clear favourites, but Robinson, operating in short spells after bowling 24 overs in the first innings, returned again and had Robson lbw.
Holden (80no) and Martin Andersson (44no) repeated their form of the first innings.
Sussex, who were 225-1 in the first innings of the match and who played some excellent cricket here, gave Middlesex 77 overs to score their runs. As it was, the home side were handicapped by a number of factors and deserve some sympathy. The pitch was flat, the ball was soft (without the hope of a new ball) and there was a short boundary on the east side of the ground. Also, their declaration calculations were compromised by the time lost to bad light on the third day.
In addition, seamers George Garton and Sean Hunt came into this game with little cricket. And although he bowled splendidly and took seven wickets in the match, this was also Robinson’s first match in four months.
Sussex started the fourth day on 236-3, with a lead of 270, and immediately there was a pre-declaration urgency about their batting.
Cheteshwar Pujara carried on from where he had left off the day before, effortlessly driving the second ball of the morning through the covers for four. Then he twice cut Andersson for boundaries.
His next four would have painful consequences for the Middlesex batsman White. Pujara straight-drove Ethan Bamber and White, diving to stop the ball, was soon writhing in agony. There was a delay of 10 minutes before White was wheeled from the field on a stretcher trolley. A dislocated left shoulder was later diagnosed.
Clark was dropped behind when he inside edged Blake Cullen. He had moved on to 77 before he was lbw to Luke Hollman. At that stage, at 335 for four, Sussex declared. They had added 99 runs in 17 overs. Pujara remained unbeaten on 170.