Yorkshire deep in the mire

Lv County Championship

Yorkshire hit big trouble between the rain breaks on a short but embattled first day of their LV County Championship Division One relegation scrap with champions Sussex at Hove.

Anthony McGrath's visitors badly need to establish a platform from which they can try to hang on to their top-flight status.

But after being permitted only 38 overs and losing two important late wickets to Mohammad Sami (3-39) on the way to a very wobbly 84 for six, the only good news at stumps for Yorkshire came from Canterbury.

Fellow relegation candidates Kent were up against it to register even one batting point against title-chasing Durham.

Put in under heavy cloud cover after an initial hour delay, Yorkshire were interrupted three times - in a match they began needing to win to be sure of survival.

In only 7.3 overs possible before lunch Adam Lyth made a 10-ball duck - and after having to start his innings three times, number three McGrath eventually went in early afternoon for just three from 32 deliveries.

Andrew Gale

Andrew Gale was responsible for all the runs off the bat in Yorkshire’s first 30 at Hove

Andrew Gale was responsible for all the runs off the bat in Yorkshire's first 30. But he too fell to a testing seam attack on a grafting pitch by the time bad light signalled teatime.

Lyth was gone in the fifth over, the little left-hander appearing to push forward and inside the line of Jason Lewry's stock ball to lose his off-stump.

Gale and McGrath almost doubled the score, adding 18 in nine overs, before the opener sparred at a short ball from Sami and edged behind.

When McGrath departed with a long look at the pitch, after edging a ball via a back-foot defence off Robin Martin-Jenkins to first slip, much depended on the next wicket - with Yorkshire's tail lacking obvious substance, on paper at least.

South Africa pair Jacques Rudolph and Gerard Brophy were therefore the best hope for the White Rose and they served it adequately in the first instance, closing out the second session.

Then after another near two-hour delay, the fourth-wicket pair returned in the hope of safely navigating 15 more overs as skies finally brightened for the first time on an otherwise stubbornly gloomy day.

The outlook dimmed again for Yorkshire, though, when Rudolph went back and shaped to push Sami into the off-side only to inside-edge onto his stumps.

That suspicion of late movement was repeated from a fuller length in his next over as Sami found swing to knock back Brophy's off-stump - the batsman apparently playing towards mid-on.

Then when Lewry had nightwatchman Steve Patterson lbw with some more full-length inswing, Yorkshire had lost three wickets for six runs in three overs - and needed all the help they could get from Durham.

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