All photos: Luke Adams
Former England opener Keaton Jennings led Lancashire to their third win on the spin in the LV=Insurance County Championship against Sussex at The 1st CENTRAL County Ground, Hove. Lancashire won by five wickets shortly after lunch on the final day to stay top of the Group 3 table, and Jennings followed his first innings 60 with an unbeaten 91.
Sussex battled hard to the last but ultimately paid for their cheap second innings dismissal and Lancashire were worthy winners. They started the day on 124 for two, still requiring another 129, with Jennings unbeaten on 35. Sussex opened with their two leading wicket-takers in the match, Stuart Meaker and Jack Carson.
Jennings reverse swept the ever-threatening Carson for four and Lancashire appeared to be making serene progress towards their target when, after 35 minutes play, night-watchman Saqib Mahmood had a rush of blood and charged down the wicket to drive Carson. But he missed the ball, wicket-keeper Ben Brown made a simple stumping, and Lancashire were 147 for three.
New batsman Liam Livingstone did not last long. With 100 runs still needed, Livingstone, on three, clipped Carson to midwicket where Delray Rawlins tumbled forward to take the catch.
Sussex were back in the match. But Lancashire always looked favourites while Jennings was at the crease. The batsman reached his half- century from 105 balls and looked generally untroubled, though he did edge Meaker just short of second slip. Sussex thought they had made a breakthrough at the other end when new batsman Josh Bohannon, on 9, survived an appeal for a stumping off Carson only after both umpires had consulted. Carson ended the match with another seven wickets to his names.
While Jennings continued to play the anchor role Bohannon went for his strokes. He flicked Jamie Atkins to fine leg for four and guided Henry Crocombe to third man for another boundary. Then he pulled Crocombe backward of square for another four, before pulling Delray Rawlins over midwicket for six.
Bohannon’s aggressive innings of 46 came to an end when he pulled Crocombe to long leg where Tom Clark took a fine catch; Bohannon’s 53-ball innings included eight fours and a six. At lunch Lancashire were 228 for five, still needing 25 runs, and they got there 27 minutes after the break.
Lancashire captain Dane Vilas reacted on his side's victory. “It was a fantastic performance by us to come from behind, an unbelievable effort and just what we needed.
“We talked about what we had to do. We knew we had to turn things around to get a result and that’s exactly what we did on days three and four. They were our moving days. All our bowlers bowled really well and I’m delighted for them.”
Sussex captain Ben Brown said, “I have feelings of déjà vu after last week’s defeat by Yorkshire, and now this. I’m ultimately disappointed that we didn’t have the experience to ram home the advantage we gained in the first innings.
“We didn’t do anything that wrong but Lancashire bowled really well and we couldn’t get the 200 runs or so in our second innings to put the game out of sight. And then the experience of their batting really showed.
“But on the plus side we had an amazing debut by Jamie Atkins, who has pace and bounce and can swing the ball. I was really excited about his debut and I’m really pleased for him, while Stuart Meaker really raised his game and showed his experience. Then there was Jack Carson. The pitch didn’t offer us as much spin as last week but he was outstanding again.”