Shahzad dismantles Worcestershire to send Sussex top

Shahzad dismantles Worcestershire to send Sussex top

Chopra hits century to lead Warwickshire to draw; Yorkshire unable to force victory; Pietersen hits half-century in Cardiff stalemate

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Ajmal Shahzad's scintillating spell secured another victory for Sussex

Sussex 345 (Machan 135) & 290 (Joyce 82; Senanayake 4/50) beat Worcestershire 389 (Oliver 101, Kervezee 93) & 185 (Shahzad 5/46) by 61 runs, at The BrightonandHoveJobs.com County Ground

Worcestershire lost nine wickets for 77 runs as Sussex made it two wins from two in the County Championship, going to the top of the fledgling table in the process. Ajmal Shahzad continued his fine start to life on the south coast, taking a five-wicket haul for the first time since 2011.

Resuming on 47/0, Worcestershire needed 200 more runs to record their first victory in Division One since July 2012. First innings centurion Richard Oliver was clean bowled by Shahzad for 27, whilst Daryl Mitchell (21) continued his disappointing start to the season when he was trapped lbw by one that kept low from former Worcestershire man Steve Magoffin.

The alarm bells must have started ringing on the away balcony when Alex Gidman (7) was out lbw to leave Worcestershire 69/3 having lost three wickets for 12 runs.

Worse was still to come for newly-promoted Worcestershire, reduced to 99/6 as Kohler-Cadmore was dismissed by Shahzad for a second-ball duck, with Alexei Kervezee (7) and Tom Fell (21) falling cheaply soon after.

When Gareth Andrew’s stumps were dismantled to give Shahzad his fourth wicket, leaving Worcestershire 127/7 at lunch, the result seemed a formality.

Sussex had to contend with a late rally in the form of a last wicket partnership of 51 between Ben Cox (48*) and Charlie Morris (24), but when the latter edged to Ed Joyce at slip, the winning margin stood at 61 runs.

 

Hampshire 319 (Wheater 74; Rankin 6/75) & 339 (Ervine 102, Carberry 81) drew with Warwickshire 280 (Ambrose 113) & 244/5 (Chopra 119*) at Edgbaston

Varun Chopra led from the front to hit an unbeaten century for Warwickshire on a day that would have had even the most devout purist frantically searching the confines of Edgbaston for alternative forms of entertainment.

Going into a final day that was full of promise, with batting becoming easier, the home side needed 332 more runs, whilst Hampshire needed ten wickets to record what would have been an impressive victory, an outcome made possible by their domination at the end of day three.

Although Ian Westwood was out lbw early on, 35 runs and one wicket in the first hour of play set the tone, and with Warwickshire 112/1 at lunch, the game was already heading towards a certain draw.

A partnership of 68 between Will Porterfield and Chopra ended when Tomlinson snared the former for 29, offering a glimmer of hope that became even brighter when Laurie Evans (9) and Sam Hain (6) departed soon after, but the experienced heads of Chopra and Tim Ambrose extinguished any hope of forcing a result.

When the sides finally shook hands, amidst the welcome sight of Michael Carberry having a bowl, Chopra had scored 119 off 309 balls. Uncharacteristic in execution though it may have been, his side would have appreciated such a stoic effort.

 

Nottinghamshire 428 (Hales 236) & 354/7d (Read 83*, Patel 76) drew with Yorkshire 441 (Leaning 116, Lees 100; Patel 4/102), at Trent Bridge

The match between two of the pre-season title favourites ended in stalemate, as Yorkshire were unable to force a victory on the final day.

Leading by 61 with seven wickets remaining going into Wednesday’s play, Nottinghamshire would have been slightly uneasy overnight, but an impressive lower-order display averted any sense of drama.

Will Gidman, yet to ignite his Nottinghamshire career, was caught behind off Steven Patterson for 13, whilst 20-year-old Will Rhodes snared the wicket of James Taylor for 35.

At lunch, with a lead of 143 and five wickets remaining, Yorkshire might have scented a victory, but half-centuries from Samit Patel (76) and captain Chris Read (83*), as well as important runs from Riki Wessels (43) and Vern Philander (38*) ensured that the teams would shake hands on a draw just before five o’clock, both sides taking eleven points from the contest.

 

Surrey 563/7d (Davies 200*, Sangakkara 149; Carter 4-110) & 207/4d (Pietersen 53*) drew with Glamorgan 419 (Meschede 101*) & 116/0, at the SWALEC Stadium

In Division Two, Surrey were unable to register a win in their opening game as they were frustrated by Glamorgan in Cardiff.

The away side began the day clearly intent on quickly adding to their lead of 144 in order to exert some pressure. After Kumar Sangakkara blitzed 40 off 28 balls, Craig Meschede continued his memorable match by having him caught by Dean Cosker.

Kevin Pietersen continued his comeback, hitting an unbeaten 53 off 70 balls before Gareth Batty called his troops in, having left Glamorgan a notional target of 352, or, more realistically, Surrey a target of ten wickets in 57 overs.

Any designs on a win for either side were quashed by a solid effort from the two Glamorgan openers, with Jacques Rudolph and James Kettleborough both hitting unbeaten half-centuries to preserve the Welsh side’s unbeaten start to the season.

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