The encouraging pre-season signs for the Sussex men continued on day one of their friendly against Hampshire, as cricket returned to The 1st Central County Ground for the first time this year.
Having bowled the visitors out for 167 – a feat that required taking eleven wickets such is the way of pre-season friendlies – Sussex then reached the close trailing by 17 runs having lost just three wickets.
Traffic on the A27 delayed Hampshire’s arrival and with it the start of play. Proceedings began at 11.30am with the visitors batting first on what – thanks to the hard work of the groundstaff - a remarkably decent wicket given that the clocks have yet to go forward.
As agreed ahead of the match, they would have 55 of the day’s scheduled 90 overs available to them.
George Garton made the initial breakthrough, having Joe Weatherley caught by Phil Salt in the slips for five with the score on 17 in the sixth over.
Six overs later, and first-change bowler Tom Haines sparked a mini collapse when he knocked Aneurin Donald’s leg-stump out of the ground with the score on 32. Garton’s dismissal of Liam Dawson for nought and Haines’
Opener James Vince remained unbeaten at the other end and his 85-run collaboration with Tom Alsop was the only significant stand of the innings.
Hampshire’s recovery was halted when Luke Wells pushed through a quicker delivery and beat Alsop’s attempted cut shot. The Hampshire ‘keeper departed for 37 having become the fourth batsmen in succession to be bowled, leaving his side 123 for six.
That brought lunch, during which Vince retired out for 70. Gareth Berg and Weatherley – batting again – resumed the innings. The former England Under-19 captain didn’t fare any better second time round, being bowled by Wells for four in the fourth over of the afternoon.
Next man in, Northeast, was unable to improve much on his second attempt either. He was caught behind for three to give Abi Sakande his first wicket and leave Hampshire struggling at 135 for eight.
Keith Barker was the next man to fall, caught by Sakande for five to give Garton a third before trialist Jordan Shaw snared Berg via a sharp Harry Finch slip catch for 25 to make it 167 for ten.
No more runs had been added when Danny Briggs finished off Hampshire’s extended innings via another catch in the slips: James Fuller taken by Phil Salt for six.
Phil Salt was his fluent best during a contribution of 74 to Sussex’s reply, which had reached 150 for three when stumps were drawn.
Haines (7) and Wells (4) both fell to Barker with the score on 17 and 41 respectively, before Salt and a composed-looking Finch (37*) added 77 for the fourth wicket.
Salt looked in fine touch with a winter in the T20 leagues behind him. His timing was spot on despite the challenges presented by a March, however well-prepared, and he was able to pick gaps in the field with apparent ease.
His 85-ball innings eventually came to an end when Fuller bowled him with the score on 118. That brought Luke Wright (20*) to the crease who himself looked in good touch as he and Finch put on 32 in the remaining 7.4 overs of the day.
Full scorecard available HERE.
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