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Superb Hildreth upsets Sharks

Matt Prior

Matt Prior used time away from England to score a rapid 64 opening the batting, but Sussex suffered a shock defeat

James Hildreth hit an exhilarating century as Somerset beat Sussex by four wickets in a high-scoring Clydesdale Bank 40 game at Taunton.

The visitors looked in control when posting 291 for eight after losing the toss. Matt Prior, Michael Thornely and Murray Goodwin all enjoyed the batsmen-friendly conditions with rapid sixties, while Alfonso Thomas and Damien Wright each took three wickets.

Despite Marcus Trescothick’s rapid 61, Somerset looked in trouble at 109 for four. But then Jos Buttler joined Hildreth in a superb match-winning stand of 158 in 16 overs.

Hildreth completed his century just before the end off only 66 balls, with 11 fours and three sixes.

It was a magnificent innings, ably supported by 19-year-old Buttler - whose 69 came off 53 deliveries, with nine fours and a six - as the pair transformed the match with an array of one-day shots, many improvised, all around the wicket.

Skipper Trescothick had provided some sort of platform with eight fours and two sixes in a typically powerful knock.

The winning hit was made by Wright on the last appearance of his spell as Somerset’s temporary overseas player. He will be replaced by Murali Kartik for the LV= County Championship match with Yorkshire at Taunton, which starts on Monday.

Earlier, Sussex openers Chris Nash and Prior had taken the score to 63 when Nash, on 25, drove Thomas in the air to mid-on where Zander de Bruyn took a smart catch above his head.

Prior reached his half-century off 47 balls, with two sixes and four fours, and by the midway point in their innings the visitors were well placed at 127 for one.

With one run added to the total the England wicketkeeper was caught by Max Waller at mid-wicket off a Peter Trego full toss.

Thornely and Goodwin then added 103 in 12 overs, with Thornely reaching his maiden one-day fifty off 51 balls. Goodwin was even quicker, hitting a 34-ball half-century, with five fours and two sixes.

At 231 for two Sussex looked set for 300-plus but Goodwin, on 64, was run out by Waller, whose throw to the bowler’s end from deep mid-wicket just beat the 37-year-old Zimbabwean as he and Thornely attempted a second run.

Thornely fell for 67 to a catch by Arul Suppiah at deep cover off a Thomas full-toss, but a bright 26 off 16 balls from Rana Naved-ul-Hasan took the total to 271 before he skied Wright to Trescothick running in from mid-off.

Robin Martin-Jenkins was lbw to the Australian first ball and Andrew Hodd became a third victim for Thomas before Wright’s final delivery saw him knock back Chad Keegan’s leg stump.