Sussex well-beaten by Worcestershire - with day to spare

Worcestershire are celebrating their first victory of the season in the LV=Insurance County Championship after overcoming Sussex by an innings and 34 runs with a day to spare at New Road.
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Sussex lost 15 wickets on the third day and, despite a first innings century from Cheteshwar Pujara and a half century from loanee Grant Stewart, they crumbled to a crushing setback.

Worcestershire dominated throughout and new Club Captain, Brett D’Oliveira, has scored 294 runs without being dismissed so far this summer. Worcestershire also have a talismanic leader of their attack in D’Oliveira’s predecessor, Joe Leach, who is enjoying a new lease of life as one of the footsoldiers.

Tom Clark couldn't save Sussex at New Road / Picture: GettyTom Clark couldn't save Sussex at New Road / Picture: Getty
Tom Clark couldn't save Sussex at New Road / Picture: Getty
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Dillon Pennington, who dismissed Pujara twice today, Charlie Morris, and Ed Barnard provided sterling support while emerging spinner, Josh Baker confirmed his promise.

Sussex were without half a dozen players through injury but results have been on a downward spiral for some time. Since the start of last season, they have won only one of their 17 Championship matches and been beaten 11 times.

Sussex Head Coach, Ian Salisbury, said: “First of all, well played to Worcestershire. We knew it was going to be a struggle when we had seven front-line bowlers out. It was always going to be a tough ask. The reality is 491 (by Worcestershire) in the first innings was too many runs.

“The spirit is good but there are things out of your hands. It is frustrating trying to get a side together and I think it can take its toll on our batters. Two of our batters have had to bowl quite a few overs and Mohammad Rizwan has come over and done 150 overs two games in a row (behind the stumps), a lot even for someone of his class.

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“I don’t look for excuses but as things stand at the moment, anyone trying to put together a side in my side would find it very difficult at present.”

Salisbury confirmed Kent have recalled Stewart from his loan spell at Hove.

Sussex resumed on 169 for five, still 322 runs in arrears, with their hopes pinned firmly on Pujara who had scored an unbeaten 201 against Derbyshire in the previous match. Pujara, unbeaten on 85 overnight, completed a fine century off 184 balls with 14 boundaries and he and Delray Rawlins negotiated the opening 50 minutes. But the introduction of Pennington into the attack brought about a double breakthrough.

The former England Under-19 bowler has revealed his determination to perform on a more consistent basis this season and he soon shattered the stumps of Rawlins with a full length delivery. Pennington then picked up the prized wicket of Pujara (109) who edged a fine ball which nipped away and he was caught by Ed Pollock at first slip. Tom Alsop, finally came into bat at number seven after a severely bruised finger had prevented him from batting in the top three.

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But the home side continued to probe away on a cool and overcast day and Barnard found the edge of Grant Stewart’s bat with Pollock holding onto another chance. Alsop, on 28, had been run out against Derbyshire last week and he suffered the same fate thanks to sharp work by Pennington.

He played a delivery from Barnard to wide mid-on, set off for a risky single and failed to beat Pennington’s direct hit at the non striker’s end. Morris wrapped up the innings when trapping Grant Burrows lbw on the stroke of lunch. D’Oliveira’s decision to enforce the follow on soon brought dividends thanks to two wickets in two balls for Leach for the second time in the game.

Tom Haines nicked a fine delivery and keeper Ben Cox was alert to the situation and pouched a sharp catch in front of first slip. The Leach-Cox combination then struck again to the next very delivery after Alsop pushed forward and found the outside edge. Worcestershire were then cock-a-hoop when Pennington dismissed Pujara (12) for the second time in the day after knocking out his off stump.

Tom Clark was then guilty of a poor shot in trying to slog sweep Baker and inside-edged a catch to Cox and Mohammed Rizwan went lbw to Barnard. A dismal day for Sussex was summed up when Rawlins failed to beat Barnard’s throw to Baker at the non-striker’s end after a mix-up with Ali Orr. Orr provided some stubborn resistance in making 33 off 138 balls but was undone by a Baker delivery which bounced on him and caught at short leg.

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D’Oliveira held onto a good catch running back to long off to dismiss Henry Crocombe (8) to give Baker a third wicket. The Club Captain came into the attack for the first time and had Jamie Atkins caught at mid on. Stewart struck Baker for four sixes in one over on his way to a 55 ball half century in some late defiance before Burrows went lbw to D’Oliveira to end proceedings.