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Dan Ibrahim becomes Championship's youngest half-centurion (and takes a wicket)

Sussex’s 16-year-old debutant Dan Ibrahim became the LV= Insurance County Championship’s youngest ever half-centurion before Dawid Malan’s unbeaten 103 put Yorkshire on top during day two at Emerald Headingley.

All-rounder Ibrahim, 16 years and 299 days, moved from 37 overnight to 55 in Sussex’s first-innings 313 before lunch.

Malan, in his first county appearance of the summer, then steered Yorkshire’s reply of 272 for two from 74 overs. Gary Ballance also made 74 not out. 

Ibrahim is one of six English 16-year-olds to score fifties in first-class cricket in this country, but only him and Bilal Shafayat have achieved the feat in the Championship. Shafayat was 16 and 360 days when he scored 72 for Nottinghamshire v Middlesex in 2001. Ibrahim, 61 days his junior, reached 50 off 114 balls courtesy of an overthrown second run. His composure was the main attribute in a 134-ball innings with eight fours.

Ben Coad claimed two of five Sussex wickets to fall in the morning as they advanced from 267 for five, getting Ben Brown caught behind for 127 and Ibrahim caught at third slip.

Steve Patterson and David Willey also struck, while Willey wrapped up the innings with a superb direct hit run out of Jamie Atkins from mid-off at the non-striker’s end.

Adam Lyth pulled the second legitimate ball of the reply, from Henry Crocombe, for six as Yorkshire faced six overs before lunch.

Lyth and Tom Kohler-Cadmore shared an opening partnership of 83 inside 18 overs, their second highest stand of the season.

Ibrahim celebrates

Ibrahim’s seamers made the breakthrough when trapping Kohler-Cadmore lbw for 25 in the first half of the afternoon, continuing the youngster’s memorable day.

Lyth lost his leg stump to Atkins for 48 three overs later as Yorkshire fell to 95 for two in excellent batting conditions.

Aside from being dropped at first slip on 27 by Travis Head just before tea, Malan looked untroubled. Ballance was more circumspect on his return from a calf injury, facing 180 balls.

They shared an unbroken 177 partnership for the third wicket, with Malan reaching his century off 153 balls in the day’s final over.

After his incredible day, Ibrahim said: “I was shocked on Sunday when I was told I was playing, but I was so excited. 

“There are not many better grounds than Headingley on which to make a debut, and it was just so special to be out there when Ben Brown made his century.

“It was tough to bat against the new ball, but Browny helped me though and took the pressure off me. I found it tough, but I just had to keep battling though and do the best I could.

“It was very special to beat the record [youngest fifty maker in Championship history]. Matt Prior [who capped Ibrahim on day one] told me I should be here and learn, that it was early in my journey and there was still a long way to go. I’ll certainly be staying at school and taking things how they come.”

Yorkshire batting coach, Paul Grayson, gave his perspective on the day's play: "Firstly we’ve got to say, 'well done' to our bowlers for getting the five wickets as quickly as they did on a pretty flat wicket.

“It’s not very often this year we’ve been in a strong position with the bat. Hopefully we can make the most of that tomorrow and post a big first-innings score. 

“Dawid’s been away for a while playing a lot of white-ball cricket. He’s a little bit undercooked. But we’re very lucky that him and Gary are back in the side. They are two class players.

“We knew we were inexperienced at Old Trafford last week against a very good side, and they just bring a bit of calmness, experience and quality. That helps the younger lads as well.”

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