Prosperous Wessels boosts Notts
Riki Wessels continued his rich vein of form with an unbeaten 184 as Nottinghamshire took control of their LV= County Championship Division One match against Sussex at the PROBIZ County Ground.
On the ground where his father Kepler played for Sussex 30 years ago, Wessels scored his third hundred of a campaign that was interrupted for four weeks last month when he broke his finger.
The 26-year-old’s 14th first-class century enabled second-placed Nottinghamshire to close on 320 for four at the end of the second day - a lead of 11 runs.
After wrapping up the Sussex innings for 309 in the third over of the morning, Wessels and Alex Hales laid the foundations for a big total with Nottinghamshire’s first century stand for the opening wicket since 2008, when Will Jefferson and Bilal Shafayat put on 157 - also against Sussex at Hove.
Their progress was fairly circumspect before lunch, but on a flat pitch offering little assistance to Sussex’s seam attack or Monty Panesar’s left-arm spin, Hales and Wessels blossomed during the afternoon as they took their partnership to 171 in 49 overs.
Hales offered a chance two balls after reaching his fifty when a thick edge just eluded the diving Ed Joyce at second slip, but, otherwise, the batsmen did as they pleased.
That was until Panesar, during his second spell of the day, got a ball to turn and bounce, beating Hales’ defensive push to clip the off bail.
Michael Lumb was dropped on two by Mike Yardy at slip off James Anyon and celebrated his reprieve by adding 95 in 25 overs with the highly impressive Wessels, who brought up his hundred with a pull in front of square off Anyon.
He then launched an assault on Panesar, twice lofting him down the ground for six, the second of which brought up his 150. Lumb, who made 23, drove loosely at Naveed Arif Gondal and was caught at gully.
Nottinghamshire pushed Samit Patel up the order to accelerate the scoring, but he fell for 11 to the fifth ball bowled by part-time off spinner Chris Nash, who turned one past his defences - allowing Ben Brown to take a good catch.
Nash struck again when James Taylor gloved to short leg pushing forward, but the day belonged to Wessels, who finished needing another 14 runs to lodge a new career-best.
So far, he has batted for nine minutes short of six hours, hitting 30 fours and two sixes in 253 balls.
Earlier, Patel had picked up his fourth wicket after Sussex added four runs to their overnight total when Arif was caught at mid-on for 23.