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Shahzad shines on Red Rose bow

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Ajmal Shahzad made a great start to his Lancashire career with two wickets in his first over as the rain-ruined LV= County Championship game with Sussex ended in a predictable draw.

The 26-year-old, who only joined the county this week after he was made available by Roses rivals Yorkshire, struck with his opening ball and then again with his fifth as he became the first Lancashire player to take two wickets in his first over for the county.

He had three wickets in 13 balls when he picked up Chris Nash but Sussex probably ended the game feeling marginally more satisfied, having collected five bonus points after reaching 300 for eight in reply to Lancashire’s 144 for eight.

Shahzad came on immediately after tea and won a lbw appeal straight away against Ed Joyce, although there was a suggestion that the ball may have pitched outside leg stump.

Shahzad struck again when he removed another left-hander, Luke Wells, who was trapped in front playing half-forward.

His third victim was Nash, who had put on 58 for the first wicket with Joyce, when he was leg before to a ball which nipped back off the seam.

Shahzad generated good pace in a six-over opening spell but the rest of the Lancashire bowling lacked his accuracy, although Sajid Mahmood did pick up three expensive wickets.

Matt Prior, looking for some time in the middle ahead of next week’s first Investec Test against West Indies, and Mike Yardy batted positively in a stand of 142 in 23 overs to take Sussex to their first target of 200 and a batting bonus point.

Matt Prior

England wicketkeeper-batsman Matt Prior warmed up for the first Investec Test against West Indies by blasting 86 off 80 deliveries for Sussex on the final day against Lancashire

Prior hit four sixes - two each off Chapple and Shahzad - on his way to a blistering 86 from 80 balls which also included five fours.

Both he and Yardy were caught on the square-leg boundary off Mahmood but Joe Gatting made 42 from 25 balls before Sussex declared with two balls of the day remaining when they had collected their third batting bonus point.

The loss of three days to rain ensured there were only bonus points to play for, but Lancashire lost their way after lunch, losing six wickets for 70 runs before skipper Glen Chapple declared, denying Sussex a third bonus point.

Naveed Arif Gondal, preferred in their attack to Amjad Khan, justified his selection with three wickets and also ran out Karl Brown with a direct hit from wide mid-on.

Brown top-scored with 41 and added 38 with Steven Croft, but after Croft was caught waist-high at second slip off Steve Magoffin the innings went into swift decline with Shahzad enduring a 13-ball duck.

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