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Middlesex take victory on final day

Middlesex chased down a target of 370 following a declaration from Sussex on day 4 of the LV= Insurance County Championship at The 1st Central County Ground, Hove.

Sussex started the fourth day on 236 for three, 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.

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. A dislocated left shoulder was later diagnosed. Middlesex were also without Shaheen Shah Afridi, who did not take the field after feeling unwell in the morning.

Clark batted well, accelerating the pace of the innings before being dismissed for 77 by Luke Hollman. The dismissal coincided with Sussex’s declaration, setting Middlesex a target of 370 from 77 overs. 

Clark and Pujara added 99 runs in 17 overs during the morning session. The latter remaining unbeaten on 170, taking his total runs scored to 717 at an average of 143 in four matches.

Sussex started brightly with Beard trapping Stoneman lbw for 1. The bowlers continued to work hard throughout the day but 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 the visitors achieve their eighth highest fourth innings total to win the match. 

Sussex head coach, Ian Salisbury said following the loss, “I don’t like losing, I really don’t.  But sometimes you have to take a risk to win. We knew it was a risk with three bowlers having their first game of the season. But I can’t fault the effort of the guys on a good pitch.  They gave absolutely everything.  I can’t fault Ollie Robinson as a cricketer. You could see how much effort he out into it today. And George Garton is still trying to get his lungs and his heart right after long Covid. It was never our intention to bat out our second inning for a draw, which we could have done.”


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