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The 1st Central County Ground
Match Report

Sussex vs Surrey: Day One

25 Mar 2024

Sussex continued their buildup to the start of the 2024 County Championship with a strong first day’s play against Surrey in a two day warm up at The 1st Central County Ground.

Sussex were superb to reduce the visitors to 120-5 before lunch, before an impressive Jamie Overton 70 dragged Surrey to 221-7 inside 50 overs.

The home side were slightly less aggressive in their response, but opener Tom Clark batted nicely and was virtually unthreatened for his 40 not out.

Sussex closed on 60-1 but it is unlikely they will be able to continue their chase given a poor weather forecast tomorrow.

Sussex started the days play well on top, reducing a star-studded Surrey top order to 42-3 within the first hour.

Former England openers Rory Burns and Dom Sibley were subjected to an excellent opening spell from Ari Karvelas and Sean Hunt, who struck first when Burns was caught behind for two attempting a booming drive through cover.

It was just reward for Hunt who stayed patient with a consistent line and had clearly left the cover region open to tempt Burns into the shot.

A remarkable Fynn Hudson-Prentice catch above head height ended Sibley’s fluent 20 when he tried to clip Karvelas over mid-wicket.

And the visitors were soon three down when Ryan Patel, attempting to pull first change paceman Henry Crocombe, top edged to Oli Carter, who took a difficult grab running in from deep square leg.

But an impressive Jamie Smith half century steadied Surrey, as he put on a quick 68 with Jordan Clark.

Smith looked confident in his stoke play, hitting boundaries through the covers, and over cow corner, before hitting two sumptuous drives down the ground in the same over to bring up his 50.

But Clarke was removed by Hudson-Prentice as he attempted to drive before Smith followed without another run being added, leaving the visitors 110-5 on the stroke of lunch.

And Surrey’s difficulties continued five overs after lunch when Lamb dismissed Steel lbw to leave them 137-6, before Jamie Overton and Tom Lawes came together to add a crucial 84.

Overton was the pick of the batters with an impressive 70 which included 11 boundaries. He targeted Carson’s off-spin well with some big hits down the ground and to the leg side but was lucky to be dropped by Tom Haines on 48.

The Surrey innings was ended by James Coles who had Lawes bowled for 25, to leave them 221/7 from 49.2 overs at the interval.

The Sussex chase was played at a slower pace, but Tom Clark looked particularly classy; he was astute in defence and dangerous through the leg side, where he notched three early boundaries.

He and fellow left-hander opener Tom Haines seemed in control early on until Haines slashed a Dan Worrall delivery to Lawes at midwicket, who took a smart catch above his head.

From the end of the sixth over through to the 11th, with Tom Alsop at the crease, Surrey conceded just three runs, but the home batters managed to remain composed during this sustained spell of pressure.

But Clark continued his good start and began to dominate England bowler Jamie Overton with two immaculate cover drives in the space of four balls, before another flick off the pads two overs later. 

Sussex, via Clark and Tom Alsop, who also looked good, reached the close, as bad light stopped play. 

Report written by Will Kirkup

Day two will resume tomorrow at 11am, with gates open from 10am. Entry is free for all spectators. 

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