Sussex on the Wright track
Luke Wright hit the last ball of the day for six to reach his first hundred of the season in spectacular style after leading a lower-order fightback by Sussex on the first day of their LV= County Championship clash with Middlesex.
The all-rounder has helped add 92 for the last two wickets thus far for the leaders, who recovered after losing four wickets for 17 runs, to reach 413 for nine at stumps after being put in on a green-tinged pitch at Uxbridge.
Wright was on 69 when last-man Corey Collymore joined him four overs before stumps.
However, he went into overdrive, adding 31 runs during his unbroken stand of 39 with Collymore, including the last-ball six off Steven Finn.
He also struck two more maximums and ten fours as he brought up his eight first-class hundred from just 96 balls.
It completed a chastening day for England’s new fast-bowling prospect Finn, who was earlier upstaged by a bowler in only his third first-class match.
Toby Roland-Jones, a 22-year-old seamer, took 4-82 including three scalps in three overs as Sussex collapsed during the afternoon session.
After having Chris Nash off a top-edged pull, the youngster returned to first bowl England wicketkeeper Matt Prior with a nip-backer, before also accounting for Michael Thornely caught and Ollie Rayner.
Finn had sparked the collapse by having Murray Goodwin caught at square-leg for 80 to a well-judged catch by Roland-Jones as Sussex slumped from 259 for three to 276 for seven.
The 6ft 8in seamer bowled tidily in six spells, totalling 27 overs, but Middlesex failed to take advantage of winning the toss.
Sussex lost skipper Michael Yardy to Iain O’Brien’s inswinger in the second over but Ed Joyce figured in two big stands against his old county as the visitors seized the initiative.
After adding 75 in 16 overs with Nash, the Irish left-hander put on a further 113 in 23 with Goodwin either side of lunch as the pitch lost its venom and batsmen got full value for their strokes across a quick outfield.
Joyce had made a season’s best 83, from 126 balls with 14 fours, when he flicked airily to square leg to give O’Brien his second wicket, having reached 10,000 first-class runs upon reaching 46.
Goodwin and Matt Prior maintained Sussex’s brisk tempo with a partnership of 65 in 12 overs for the fourth wicket.
Goodwin, punishing anything short on both sides of the wicket, struck 13 fours in his 102-ball 80 as he passed 20,000 runs in first-class cricket.