Saturday 7 July 2007 

Sussex Cling On For A Draw Against India

Sussex held on grimly to draw their tour match against India in a match that had three declarations, and ended with India just one wicket from victory at Hove.

Chasing a nominal 273 after India declared on 184 for 8, Sussex lost wickets regularly but were indebted to Richard Montgomerie's 60 and Robin Martin-Jenkins' unbeaten 45 at the end.

India had reduced Sussex to 148 for 7 by the scheduled close of play, and were allowed more time to effect a result. Two more wickets were taken in the extra time, but Martin-Jenkins and Jason Lewry (8 not out) held firm.

Anil Kumble took three for 56 and Rudra Pratap Singh 2 for 28.

India declared their second innings on 184 for 8, after Sussex continued to fight back strongly on the final day. Resuming on 21 for 2, the Indian batsmen struggled to impose themselves with bowler Rudra Pratap Singh top of the pile with 41 not out. Captain Rahul Dravid made an unbeaten 30 and Dinesh Karthik 33. Jason Lewry, Robin Martin-Jenkins and Mike Yardy took two wickets apiece.

Yesterday, Andrew Hodd scored his maiden first-class century as Sussex started the fightback.

Resuming on 146 for 5 in reply to India's 388 for 7 declared, Hodd shared a stand of 137 with Robin Martin-Jenkins (42) and an unbeaten stand of 30 with Ollie Rayner (19 not out) as he went to his century with a clip through mid-wicket for four.

That brought about the declaration for Sussex with the score on 300 for 6, and by the close, Jason Lewry picked up two wickets to leave India on 21 for 2. Wasim Jaffer departed lbw before Mahendra Singh Dhoni, promoted up the order, was caught by Chris Nash for 11.

On day two, VVS Laxman narrowly missed out on a century, scoring 95 as captain Rahul Dravid retired hurt on 57. They were then stymied by spin bowlers Saqlain Mushtaq and Ollie Rayner, who took all four wickets to fall on the second day, Saqlain finishing with figures of 3 for 71, Rayner 2 for 34.

The Indian bowlers then continued the good work, despite the best efforts of Michael Yardy, who hit 53 as Sussex closed in a perilous position.

Rudra Pratap Singh, Ranadeb Bose and Sreesanth took a wicket each and Anil Kumble claimed a couple.

On day one, three men hit half-centuries as India closed on 281 for 3 against Sussex at Hove after blue sky and warm sunshine greeted both sides.

Dinesh Karthik, Gautam Gambhir and Rahul Dravid all spent valuable time at the crease, passing fifty as only Wasim Jaffer missed out, scoring just 12.

John Pennington
© Cricket World 2007