Haines heads into Sussex battle at Worcester buoyed by Pujara praise

Tom Haines leads Sussex into their third County Championship match of the season at Worcester today with praise from Cheteshwar Pujara still ringing in his ears.

While his younger brothers Ollie, Harry and Alfie were playing for Horsham 1st XI last weekend, Sussex skipper Tom Haines began an epic innings, leading from the front to engineer a barely credible escape for the county against Derbyshire.

His superb, match-saving 243, finishing after tea on Sunday, lasted almost 11 hours, eclipsing his previous best championship score,156. Pujara - who also scored a double ton - later said it was one of the best first-class innings he had seen.

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Tom Haines celebrates at Derby / Picture: Sussex Cricket

In the first game of the season Sussex’s inexperienced line up were bowled out for 172 in their second innings against Notts to lose by 10 wickets.

And, when they could only muster 174 at Derby to trail by 331 after their first innings, even the most staunch supporter feared the worst.

Enter Haines to pull off an amazing rescue act. At the start of the final day Sussex were still 53 runs adrift, but with only two wickets down, Haines going on to bat almost the entire final day, facing 491 balls in total.

The match recorded the rare feat of three double centuries and a single hundred, Masood and Madsen making 239 and 111 for Derbyshire respectively, before left-hander Haines’ 243 and Pujara’s unbeaten 201 on his county debut heralded Sussex’s deserved draw at 513-3.

The pair put on 351, giving the team a massive confidence boost ahead of their trip to Worcester today.

Since the start of last year’s County Championship, 23 year old Haines has scored 1,493 First Class runs at an average of 53.32. With the beleaguered England Test team in re-building mode, the new management will surely be looking for a performer valuing his wicket, with the proven ability and concentration to bat long.

But first, a trip to Worcester...