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Haines and Brown score fifties as pre-season comes to an end

Tom Haines and Ben Brown scored their second fifties of the week as Sussex finished their pre-season preparations at The Ageas Bowl.

After spending the opening day against Hampshire in the field and with the ball in hand, it was the turn of the Sussex batsman to get valuable practice at the crease on Friday, with Aaron Thomason and Haines opening just as they did against Surrey earlier this week. 

Thomason was resolute at the top of the order, and quickly scored his first boundary when he flicked a Scott Currie delivery over first slip for four, but was soon adjudged to be LBW to the same bowler for nine off 41 balls. 

In came Stiaan van Zyl to join Haines, and he too looked at ease with the bat as he settles back into life as a cricketer, after spending a year away from Hove due to the pandemic. 

Stiaan van Zyl

One lovely, crashing drive through the covers off Ian Holland epitomised van Zyl's class, and why it is so good for Ian Salisbury to have him back in contention this summer, but one lapse of concentration saw him stumped by Lewis McManus off the bowling of Liam Dawson for 15.

While two wickets fell at the opposite end, Haines, who was joined in the middle by Tom Clark, was batting just like he did against Surrey on Monday - very well. He looked calm and confident facing the likes of Mohammad Abbas and Kyle Abbott, defending the good balls and cashing in on anything slightly full and wide.

The young batsman's half-century came off 87 balls and included nine fours and one huge six, before he was eventually caught behind by McManus off the bowling of Brad Wheal for a promising 72. 

Clark and Ben Brown were the new duo, with the former scoring 23 off 98 balls before he was caught by Holland off Dawson's bowling. 

Hampshire were bowling well at this stage, but Brown was also batting well and was largely untroubled as he reached yet another fifty.

The Sussex skipper’s milestone came off 66 balls, with a trademark pull shot earning him two fours and his knock featuring eight boundaries in total.

As soon as he reached his half-century, Brown retired not out and it was left to Delray Rawlins, who replaced Clark at the crease, to continue the scoring.

Rawlins, as he so often does, looked fantastic throughout his innings, with two glorious straight drives off Holland and Currie a couple of highlights from the day’s action at the Ageas Bowl.

The Bermudian, who was denied his fifty when LBW to Felix Organ for 47, batted alongside Ollie Robinson – another Sussex batsman to play a nice cameo.

Robinson cut a wide Holland delivery for four to get off the mark immediately, and three further fours followed for the 27-year-old as he scored 22 off 29 balls, before his lively innings was cut short by Mason Crane.

The fall of Robinson signalled a slightly abrupt end to the day, with Jack Carson bowled for one by Crane and Sean Hunt also dismissed by the leg-spinner, this time for a duck.

Stuart Meaker was the batsman left stranded, as he finished six not out and Sussex ended ‘all-out’ for 277.

Ben Brown

Photos courtesy of Dave Vokes Photography