Saif Zaib struck his maiden first class hundred as Northants cemented their strong position against Sussex at Wantage Road. Having dismissed Sussex for 106 yesterday, the hosts declared their first innings at 441-9 and, when Sussex fell to 68-4, Northants were eyeing up a 2 day finish. A battling partnership of 86 between Ben Brown & Stiaan van Zyl, however, has given Sussex a slim chance of salvaging the match – especially with rain forecast over the weekend.
Resuming with a first innings lead of 108, Northants made steady progress through the opening hour. Adam Rossington moved to his second fifty of the summer with the milestone coming in 90 balls with 3 fours.
Him and Zaib batted sensibly, taking advantage of some wayward Sussex bowling as their partnership went past the 150 mark. Despite some nervy moments in the 90s, Zaib went through to his maiden first class hundred with a sharply taken single.
It had been a crucial innings for his side and the applause from his team mates was richly deserved.
With the milestones reached, Zaib & Rossington launched a blistering attack on the Sussex bowling taking 72 in 10 overs before Zaib was trapped LBW to Rawlins for a superb 135. The partnership was ended at 198.
Northants ended the first session of the day with a lead of 240 at 346-6.
Rossington was dismissed in the third over after the break, falling 13 short of what would have been his first century of the season, as he tamely hit Joe Sarro to Travis Head at mid-on.
Ollie Robinson completed a second five wicket haul of the season by having Wayne Parnell caught behind without scoring. The 27-year old continued to press home his England claims and was the stand out of an otherwise under par Sussex bowling display.
Northants secured maximum bonus points thanks to an entertaining 10th wicket partnership of 63 between Tom Taylor and Gareth Berg, before the latter was dismissed to the part time off spin of Travis Head for 38.
Four successive boundaries from Taylor took him to 44, his highest score for Northants, before the declaration arrived at 441-9 with Northants leading by 335 on first innings.
Berg picked up with the ball where he had left off in the first innings and had Tom Haines caught at slip by Taylor by 18. Ben Sanderson claimed the wicket of the other Sussex opener as he had Thomason taken by Curran for 7.
Sussex ended the afternoon session on 41-2 and they lost Head soon after the tea break, when he bottom edged Berg behind to depart for 8.
Tom Clark was next man out, when he was bowled by a beautiful delivery from Sanderson for 13. A repeat of Sussex’s first innings collapse was avoided by a hard fought partnership between Brown and Van Zyl. The latter moved to his half century when he hit three boundaries in a Luke Proctor over.
Northants were left frustrated in the final hour of the day as the Sussex pair saw their side to the close at 154-4, but still find themselves 181 behind