Martin-Jenkins' last stand lifts Sussex
An unbeaten 73 from Robin Martin-Jenkins on his last LV= County Championship outing put Sussex in a decent position against Gloucestershire at Arundel.
Martin-Jenkins, 34, who retires later this month, was the only Sussex batsman to go on after four of his top-five colleagues fell between 37 and 49. The home side still closed on 314 for six, a lead of seven.
Gloucestershire stayed in contention in this Division Two encounter thanks to some probing left-arm spin from Vikram Banerjee on a pitch offering increasing turn.
Banerjee took four wickets while seamer Gemaal Hussain continued his excellent form with two more wickets to take him to 41 for the season.
Hussain’s new-ball away swing accounted for opener Michael Thornely, who pushed to second slip, and Banerjee struck in only his second over when Chris Nash, one short of his half-century, was surprised by extra bounce and edged to slip.
When Ed Joyce, who looked assured in making 43, popped up a catch to short-leg to give Banerjee his second wicket, Gloucestershire had a measure of control, but the game swung back Sussex’s way either side of tea with three half-century stands.
Murray Goodwin and Matt Prior put on 55 until Goodwin, on 44, was leg before to a full-length delivery from Hussain. Prior played well within himself for his 37 but had just started to accelerate when he mistimed a drive at Banerjee and gave an easy catch to cover.
Sussex were still 105 behind at that stage but Martin-Jenkins came in to play with the freedom of someone under no pressure. He soon overtook his partner Joe Gatting with a succession of flowing front-foot strokes as 55 runs were added for the sixth wicket in 14 overs.
Gatting has endured a wretched summer, with just 100 championship runs in five games, but seemed to have found some form as he moved to a season’s best 25 before he was late on a defensive push to become Banerjee’s second leg-before victim.
Martin-Jenkins pressed on though and negotiated the second new ball in an unbroken seventh-wicket partnership of 57 with Yasir Arafat. He has struck 12 fours off 108 balls so far.
Earlier, Gloucestershire’s last-wicket pair added a further 21 runs to their overnight 286 for nine to secure a third batting bonus point before last man Steve Kirby feathered a catch off Arafat, who finished with a season’s best 3-55.