Bess bowls Yorkshire into box seat on gripping day against Sussex

England off-spinner Dom Bess claimed five wickets to put Yorkshire in a strong position after three days of their LV = Insurance County Championship against Sussex at Hove.

Ben Brown at the crease against Yorkshire / Picture: Getty
Ben Brown at the crease against Yorkshire / Picture: Getty

Yorkshire first frustrated Sussex with the depth of their batting as they scored 305 in their second innings to set their opponents a challenging target of 235. Then Bess took five wickets as Sussex wobbled to 86 for five, before they rallied to 136 for six at the close.

Yorkshire started the day on 163 for five, a lead of 92, with Gary Ballance unbeaten on 36. Ollie Robinson bowled well without success but when he was replaced by George Garton at the Cromwell Road end Sussex made their first breakthrough. Garton’s second delivery was a little short and Steven Patterson chopped the ball onto his stumps.

Ballance’s three-hour innings came to an end when he was lbw padding up to off-spinner Jack Carson for 74. Robinson, armed with the new ball, returned to the attack with the score 239 for seven and in his third over he found the edge of Jordan Thompson’s bat and Aaron Thomason pulled off an amazing catch at first slip, sticking out his right hand at the last moment to seize the ball at shoulder height.

In Robinson’s next over he had Bess lbw with a ball that was destined to hit the top of the off stump. With nine wickets down, Yorkshire led by 183 and Sussex looked favourites, but the last wicket pair of David Willey and Duanne Olivier added 51 runs.

Yorkshire lost their last wicket to the tenth delivery after a delayed lunch when Olivier was lbw on the back foot to Carson, who bowled superbly for career best figures of five for 85.

In this compelling match the batting has seemed easier at the beginning of the innings and Sussex made a solid start to their chase before, at 45, Thomason gave Bess the charge and was bowled.

Sussex went to tea on 59 for one, but then Tom Haines was caught down the leg-side and after that Yorkshire took control as Sussex lost three wickets for five runs. Tom Clark, pushing forward, was caught at silly-point, Stiaan van Zyl, playing for non-existent spin, was bowled and an unhappy Delray Rawlins fell first ball before Ben Brown and Garton added 50. But Bess had the final word, removing Garton for 21 just before the close and leaving Yorkshire favourites to wrap up their second win of the season.

Sussex coach Ian Salisbury: “This is a terrific, hard fought game of cricket and I’ve seen two outstanding young off-spinners out there today.

“I’m pleased for Dom Bess, who had a tough winter. But Jack Carson is becoming a sensational off-spinner. He’s a talented boy with the world at his feet. He’s a feisty Irishman who works hard. And now he’s getting the rewards for all the hard work he puts in. He’s an attacking bowler who’s always looking to get wickets. We’re going into the last day believing we can still win.”