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Tom Alsop
Match Report

Sussex vs Gloucestershire: Day 2

20 Apr 2024

Sussex vs Gloucestershire: Day Two Match Report

Tom Alsop’s 84 and an unbeaten 75 from Cheteshwar Pujara formed the backbone of Sussex’s solid response to Gloucestershire’s 417 on an attritional day at The 1st Central County Ground.

Sussex reached stumps at Hove on 267 for 5 – trailing by 150 – after Gloucestershire enjoyed some late success when left-arm spinner Zafar Gohar took two wickets in two balls four overs before the close. 

A slow pitch has neutered the seamers with very little movement on offer and only slow turn for the spinners, while batters on both teams found it difficult to increase the scoring rate even when they got themselves established.

Alsop became the fifth player to pass fifty without going on to a century when he failed to keep down a short ball from 6ft 6in seamer Dom Goodman, who had earlier removed Tom Clark after the Sussex opener fought his way to 53 off 124 balls. 

Removing Pujara, who looked in ominously good touch, with the second new ball in the morning could be key to Gloucestershire’s hopes of a decent first-innings lead. 

The placid nature of the pitch had been highlighted by the ease with which Gloucestershire’s last two wickets added 109 in 22 overs at the start of the day, led by Gohar who made his 11th first-class half-century.

He added 56 with Zaman Akhter for the ninth wicket and their only alarm came when a mix-up over a single into the leg side left both stranded in mid-pitch but Pujara’s wild throw enabled them to make their ground. Akhter mixed careful defence with some aggressive off-side strokes as he plundered the short boundary for the majority of his seven fours. 

After Ollie Robinson had been unable to break through it was left-arm spinner James Coles who broke the stand with his fifth ball when a quicker, full-length delivery bowled Gohar for 60. 

Off-spinner Jack Carson took a smart return catch above his head to remove Ajeet Dale and claim his third wicket but not until Gloucestershire claimed a fourth batting point.

Dale then bowled a terrific opening spell down the slope and got his reward when Tom Haines, who had scored centuries in his first two games of the season, was squared up and well caught in the gully by Miles Hammond.

Dale had a feisty individual battle with Clark after lunch as the left-hander fought hard to find some form after scoring 12 in the season’s opener against Northants and then enduring a first-ball duck at Leicester last week.  

Clark still put away anything loose and appeared to have done the hard yards when he reached a 115-ball fifty, which also included a six off off-spinner Ollie Price. But when Goodman returned in the 37th over Clark poked at a ball he could have ignored, having added 108 with Alsop. 

Alsop was more fluent to reach fifty off 100 balls and bat finally began to get on top after tea as he and Pujara added 85 in 22 overs. It was a surprise, then, when Alsop misjudged a pull and Tom Price ran in from long leg to take a diving catch and give the persevering Goodman his second wicket. 

Dale returned to hit James Coles on the right hand and the helmet during another wholehearted burst but Coles added 52 with Pujara and had just hit left-arm spinner Zafar Gohar out of the ground when he was caught looking to clear the short square-leg boundary. Gohar pinned Carson on the back leg with his next ball but John Simpson survived the hat-trick.

Report provided by ECB Reporters Network

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