Ed Joyce and Luke Wells both scored hundreds against Derbyshire for the second time this month as Sussex County Cricket Club moved into position to win their first game of the season in the Specsavers County Championship today (Sunday).
Joyce’s 106 was his 44th first-class century and came three weeks after he made a career-best 250 at Derby. Wells, who scored 116 in the same game, was undefeated on 104 as Sussex finished day two on 342-4, a lead of 192 with two days to go.
The pair had put on 310 together in their previous meeting and although they were spared similar punishment this time, it was still a chastening day for a callow Derbyshire attack.
Having dismissed their visitors for 150, Sussex took advantage of benign batting conditions to move into a strong position.
Joyce shared a stand of 113 with Chris Nash in 32 overs and 135 in 34 with Wells before Wells and former New Zealand captain Ross Taylor pressed home Sussex’s advantage by adding 88 in 19 overs either side of tea.
Joyce struggled to time the ball initially but he prospered after lunch, reaching the 91st fifty of his first-class career by pulling Ben Cotton for six.
Another six, this time off part-time off-spinner Wayne Madsen, took Sussex into the lead and he reached a chanceless hundred with a third maximum, again off Madsen with a sweetly-timed extra-cover drive.
It was a surprise, therefore, when he was dismissed tamely, caught off a top edge by Chesney Hughes running across from slip as he aimed to hit Madsen fine on the leg side. Joyce faced 171 balls and also hit nine fours, and has now scored 657 Championship runs in six matches this season.
Wells, who has benefitted from a move back up to No.3 in the order, looked fluent from the outset and he brought up a chanceless second century of the season with a sweetly-timed drive to the mid-wicket boundary off Tom Taylor. So far he has faced 201 balls and hit 11 fours and a six off Madsen.
It was a tough day for Derbyshire’s inexperienced attack. Captain Billy Godleman employed Madsen as his sixth bowler as early as the 26th over and Madsen picked up two wickets to take his modest tally in first-class cricket to 13.
Having passed 50 for the fourth time this season, Nash was furious with himself when he missed a full toss and was bowled for 65 as Madsen, who only bowled 17 overs all season in 2015, finished with 2-65 from 21 overs.
Derbyshire’s seamers, though, struggled for consistency, although Tom Taylor benefitted from a belated change to the Sea End when he had his namesake Ross caught behind with the new ball for 54 and removed Matt Machan (6) to a catch in the covers off the final ball of the day.
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