Sussex resistance in vain as Notts win County Championship opener

Brett Hutton and Liam Patterson-White both claimed three wickets as Nottinghamshire wore down Sussex’s final-day resistance to claim a ten-wicket win in their LV County Championship opener at Hove.

Sussex, for whom all-rounder Dan Ibrahim was unable to bat in their second innings because of a shoulder injury sustained earlier in the match, were bowled out for 172 shortly after tea and the Division Two title favourites scored the 14 runs they needed in 2.1 overs.

It was an outstanding effort by the Nottinghamshire attack on a pitch offering very little lateral movement and only slow turn. In addition, they were without Luke Fletcher, their most experienced seam bowler, on the final day as he nursed a hamstring injury. It was some recovery after they had been 52 for four replying to Sussex's 375 on the second day.

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Sussex celebrate a Notts wicket but the visitors came out on top at Hove / Picture: Getty

On such a tough surface the Sussex batsmen had to be prised out but Notts' skipper Steven Mullaney, whose career-best 192 helped set up their victory, employed imaginative fields, often posting six men on the leg side to try and force mistakes.

Sussex began on 29 for one, still 130 behind, but for nearly an hour Ali Orr and nightwatchman Jamie Atkins looked relatively untroubled until Atkins, who had faced 53 balls, couldn’t resist when Hutton dropped one short and holed out to long leg.

Tom Alsop played a disappointing shot, caught low down by wicketkeeper Tom Moores, trying to guide a ball from Lyndon James well outside off stump down to third man but Orr and Oli Carter dug in for 14 overs before Nottinghamshire cut through Sussex’s middle order in a decisive hour after lunch.

Carter was lbw to Hutton but could consider himself unlucky to be dismissed by a ball that kept low. Orr (45) batted for three hours, 40 minutes and it took a superb reflex catch at short leg by Ben Slater to end his spirited resistance when Hutton found some extra bounce.

Slow left-armer Patterson-White got one to turn out of the rough and Tom Clark, who made his maiden hundred in the first innings, was caught at slip for 26. Delray Rawlins played on to James trying to pull and when Patterson-White snared Archie Lenham lbw only half-forward, Sussex had lost five wickets for 59 in 12.5 overs.

They still needed four runs to make Nottinghamshire bat again when Steve Finn and Henry Crocombe came together but the last-wicket pair hung on for 13 overs either side of tea until Patterson-White surprised Crocombe with a quicker ball that trapped him in front. The left-arm spinner finished with career-best match figures of eight for 138 from 76.1 overs.

Nottinghamshire openers Haseeb Hameed and Ben Slater needed 13 balls to knock off the runs and they took 23 points and Sussex 5.

Ian Salisbury (Sussex coach) said: "We didn’t win so it didn’t go according to plan, but we’ve taken the favourites for this division to the last session on the final day and that’s with a few things going against us, like Dan Ibrahim getting injured. We just couldn’t afford to drop a player like Steven Mullaney on as good a wicket as this twice.

"But there were positives. Tom Clark got a hundred and I’m so pleased for him. He did a lot of work over the winter with [batting coach] Grant Flower and you saw a different cricketer compared to last year. Chet Pujara is here and Mohammad Rizwan arrives on Monday so both will play in the next game against Derbyshire."