Sussex wrap up victory against Somerset

Brian Pollard reports from the PROBIZ County Ground.

Sussex needed fewer than 15 overs at the start of day four to wrap up what ultimately became a comprehensive victory over Somerset in their LV= county championship match at Hove.

The only danger to a Sussex win in the end came from an unexpected band of low cloud bringing drizzle that threatened a delayed start to day four.

Thankfully, that rain cleared up and, despite the overhead gloom, play got under way at the scheduled time of 11am.

Sussex only needed to add a further 54 runs to their overnight total of 218-1 – and managed that task in 14.4 overs.

The did lose centurion Chris Nash early on for 120 but Murray Goodwin and local lad Luke Wells ensured the hosts got over the line for the loss of no further wickets.

With the clock ticking towards midday on Saturday, Goodwin tied the scores with a beautifully timed prod through mid-off for four – then did exactly the same with the very same ball to wrap up a sublime team victory.

It hadn’t always looked so straightforward for Sussex, and it took a sizeable change in momentum after lunch on day three to wrench the initiative away from the visitors.

After a poor start to the match, when Sussex had been bowled out for a disappointing 177 in reply to Somerset’s first innings total of 213, they then saw the visitors move to 206-5 at lunch on Friday – a lead of 242.

But with an enormous second innings deficit looking inevitable for Sussex, the home team then fought back with a vengeance.

Pakistan pace bowler Rana Naved tore through the Somerset lower order with a spell of 4-12 in 5.2 overs just after lunch to ensure Somerset could only extend that lead to 271.

Sussex openers Nash and Ed Joyce then turned what should have been an onerous run chase into a facile one, putting on 201 for the first wicket in 47.1 overs.

Joyce was finally out lbw to Lewis Gregory yesterday evening for 84 off 130 balls. And Nash’s superb innings came to an end three and a half overs into the final day when he played all round a delivery from Steve Kirby that seemed to stay low. Nash had made 120 runs in 174 balls, a wonderful innings that included 16 fours to bring up his first ton of 2011.

At close of play Goodwin was unbeaten on 27 off 41 balls while former St Bede’s School pupil Wells was 32 not out from 67 balls.

Rana’s match figures were 46.4-9-161-10, only his second ever 10-wicket haul for Sussex.

Former England Test star Marcus Trescothick made two half-centuries in the match, a 79 to go with his first innings 63. Sussex pace bowler James Anyon picked up five wickets in the match, taking 2-61 and 3-39 in each Somerset innings.