Carter keeps cool to guide Sussex to tense win over Durham - report and reaction

Sussex won their opening match in the LV= Insurance County Championship for the first time since 2015 after Ollie Carter’s unbeaten 33 guided them to a two-wicket victory against Durham.
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The 21-year-old wicketkeeper-batsmen fittingly hit the winning runs when he pulled Brydon Carse for the second of two fours in an over, having supervised what was at times a nervy run chase.

Sussex began the final day at the 1st Central County Ground on 172 for five and requiring a further 59 runs and things initially went smoothly on a Hove pitch showing little sign of deterioration.

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Carter and nightwatchman Sean Hunt added 29 with Hunt taking boundaries in successive overs off Matthew Potts to ease the nerves.

Two of the Sussex batting heroes of the match, Cheteshwar Pujara and  Oli Carter,, at the crease during the win over Durham (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)Two of the Sussex batting heroes of the match, Cheteshwar Pujara and  Oli Carter,, at the crease during the win over Durham (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
Two of the Sussex batting heroes of the match, Cheteshwar Pujara and Oli Carter,, at the crease during the win over Durham (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Potts was replaced by left-arm spinner Matthew Kuhnemann after bowling just two overs but it was Carse, during a fine six-over spell, who made the breakthrough when he angled the ball across Hunt and wicketkeeper Ollie Robinson dived in front of slip to take a fine catch. Nonetheless, with 14 runs, Hunt had done his job.

Durham sensed an opportunity and Kuhnemann took two wickets in four overs from the sea end to make them favourites, although neither of his victims – Fynn Hudson-Prentice or Nathan McAndrew – will be rushing to see replays of their dismissals.

Hudson-Prentice (6) got a top-edge sweeping and was caught at short fine leg and McAndrew, tied down by the accuracy of his compatriot, was stumped after coming down the pitch aiming to heave Kuhnemann over long on.

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Sussex were suddenly 208 for eight and still 23 short of their target, Durham having taken three for 15 in 11 overs.

But Carter found a reliable partner in Jack Carson, and they were helped when Kuhnemann fired two balls down the leg side in successive overs which were missed by Robinson and went for a total of seven wides.

Durham brought back Carse in a final throw of the dice but Carter pulled his third and fifth deliveries through square to the boundary before being embraced by his partner. Sussex have only won once in each of their last three Championship campaigns so this will do wonders for their confidence, while Durham, who had a first-innings lead of 41, will reflect that poor second-innings batting cost them victory.

What they said – reaction from both camps

Sussex head coach Paul Farbrace said, “It was a bit nervy today but great to get over the line. The way our four seamers bowled on the third day, when they backed each other up, was outstanding and set the game up for us.

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“If there was a man of the match I’d give it to Ollie Carter. The way he kept wicket in both innings and the way be batted in the first innings, when he were 91 for 4 and he put together a partnership with [Cheteshwar] Pujara, and then again today was outstanding. In both innings he played really calmly and particularly this morning showed a lot of composure. He deserved to be the bloke who got us over the line.

“It’s a great lesson for our team because it was shown they can beat good opponents. Bowling-wise, Durham’s attack is first division quality. They got a lot of good batters and are very experienced and will win a lot of games. They will win a lot of matches this year.

“So hopefully the confidence this result gives our players, to have played in a really tough game on a fantastic cricket pitch, gives us something to really build on going forward.”

Durham fast bowler Brydon Carse said, “We’re obviously disappointed to be on the losing side but over the last four days the way we have gone about our business and the cricket we are trying to play has been really positive.

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“We had an honest chat after the game today and [acting skipper] Alex Lees spoke really well to the group.

“We’ve been on the wrong end of it in this game but going forward I don’t think we’ve got anything to worry about.

“There are a few areas where we can do better but I think all of our players gave everything.

“We came into today fully believing that we were going to win but maybe if we’d got 20 or 30 more runs in our second innings we could have won, but obviously that’s in hindsight.”