Panesar turns Sussex to top table
Monty Panesar took his first five-wicket haul since September 2008 as Sussex beat Gloucestershire by eight wickets at Arundel to go top of LV= County Championship Division Two.
Almost a year to the day since his heroics with the bat helped England save the first npower Ashes Test in Cardiff, Panesar took advantage of a wearing pitch to claim 5-44 in Gloucestershire’s second innings to give him match figures of 8-114.
Panesar was well supported by off-spinner Ollie Rayner, who took 3-24, but Gloucestershire folded abysmally under pressure as they lost their last seven wickets for 52 in 16 overs to be bowled out for 131 despite an unbeaten 89 from New Zealander Hamish Marshall.
Sussex lost both openers before passing their target of 50 in 11 overs and they now go five points clear of Gloucestershire at the top in their bid for a quick return to Division One.
Panesar struck in his first over when his arm ball deceived Jonathan Batty. Gloucestershire, who had conceded a first-innings deficit of 82, had already lost Kadeer Ali, one of five batsmen to get ducks, when he was lbw playing no shot to Yasir Arafat.
Chris Dent drove to second slip, but from 27 for three, Marshall and Alex Gidman led a brief recovery with a stand of 52. But when Gidman was superbly caught at short-leg by Michael Thornely off Rayner, Gloucestershire’s innings nose-dived.
Panesar defeated Chris Taylor’s sweep, had James Franklin taken at short-leg and Jon Lewis at slip before claiming his fifth wicket when Vikram Banerjee fatally played back to a ball which scuttled through.
At the other end it often appeared as if Marshall was involved in a different game. He played some superb back-foot shots off the spinners and hit 15 fours in 126 balls but there was negligible support from his team-mates.
Gemaal Hussain drove to mid-off and last man Steve Kirby was taken at backward short-leg to give Rayner the final two wickets of an innings which lasted just 40.3 overs.
Earlier, Sussex’s last four wickets had added a further 75 runs but Robin Martin-Jenkins missed out on a century in his last championship appearance when he was caught at second slip for 78.
Yasir Arafat contributed his first half-century of the season whilst left-arm spinner Banerjee picked up 5-94, his second five-wicket haul of the season.