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NEXT MATCH: Sussex 2nd XI vs Surrey 2nd XI

Clark century gives Sussex advantage at Grace Road

A fine century from Tom Clark helped Sussex to establish a dominant position in their LV Insurance County Championship fixture against Leicestershire at the Upton Steel County Ground.

It was Clark's second century of what is proving a breakthrough season for the 21-year-old from Hayward's Heath, his first having been made against Nottinghamshire in Sussex's opening match of the season and puts his county in with a strong chance of picking up their first win of the season.

Only five wickets fell during the day as the pitch flattened under almost unbroken sunshine, but with two spinners in the side, Sussex, who finished the day with a first innings lead of 176, will be hopeful it starts to take turn when they attempt to bowl a disheartened Leicestershire out for a second time.

The morning session saw Sussex captain Tom Haines pick up where he had left off the previous evening, moving swiftly from his overnight score of 22 to his fourth half-century of the season, a 45-ball effort that included eight boundaries.

His attempt to hit a ninth, however, cutting at a delivery from Wiaan Mulder, succeeded only in chopping the ball into his stumps.

When Pujara went soon afterwards, raising his eyes to the heavens in understandable disbelief after being given out leg before to Ben Mike's first ball of the day, a delivery which looked to be missing leg stump, Sussex were 96-3 and their young batting line-up appeared exposed.

But Clark, in company with Oli Carter, dug in, eschewing risk in building a partnership that had reached 41 at lunch.

Both were fortunate once: Clark, having called for a run after hitting the ball close to Mike at midwicket when on 31, would have been several yards short of his ground if Mike's throw had hit, while Carter flashed hard at another Mike delivery when on just 5 and Rishi Patel could not hold a very hard high chance to his right at second slip.

Carter looked a different player after the interval and his more positive approach, which included lofting left-arm spinner Callum Parkinson for a straight six, paid dividends as he went to his 50 off 111 deliveries.

Clark continued to accumulate sensibly as the partnership moved to 140 before Carter, having hit a second maximum, unaccountably played down the wrong line at the off-spin of Colin Ackermann and was bowled.

Shortly afterwards Clark reached his century with a pull to the boundary off Beuran Hendricks, his 11th boundary in 182 balls faced. He received further good support, first from Delray Rawlins and then from 17-year-old Archie Lenham.

Then from 17-year-old Archie Lenham, before Clark attempted to hit Parkinson over the legside and Mike, standing at short mid-on, stuck out his right hand to take another excellent catch.

Clark had hit 18 fours and faced 262 balls for his 138 runs, before being caught by Mike.

Lenham showed impressive maturity in continuing to build the lead, hitting South Africa international Mulder for three boundaries in an over as he closed on what would be a maiden first-class half-century.

Sussex go into day 3 in a dominant position, and will look to pile on as many runs as possible before looking to take 10 wickets once again in this match.

 

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