Six things we learnt from Sussex’s win over Middlesex


Middlesex 138 (Wiese 5-26) and 293 (Robinson 7-98) lost to Sussex 481-9dec (van Zyl 173, Brown 107) by an innings and 50 runs

Story of the match: Both sides wanted to bat, Middlesex did and were 77-5 at lunch. Whereas Sussex got the ball to talk, Middlesex did not later that first day, which Middlesex coach Stuart Law said was due to a change in atmospherics. Ben Brown scored his third championship century in as many matches and Stiaan van Zyl made his highest score for Sussex. Not even copious amounts of rain, which washed out most of day three, could save Middlesex’s out-of-form batsmen second time round.


One: Having taken maximum bonus points and established a winning position in their previous two games, only to fail to finish the game off with their second innings bowling, this victory came as something of a relief for the visitors.

Two: For Middlesex to get promoted they will need to turn their season around pronto. But that looks unlikely at the moment with their top-order batting collectively so out of form. Batting first in such circs was, to use Stuart Law’s term at the close of the second day ‘to take the bull by the horns. It was up to us to ensure we batted properly. The pitch is great, it’s a great pitch. We knew it was going to do something in the morning and as the day goes on here traditionally it does get easier.’ Problem is, when that happened, Sussex were batting.

Three: Sussex’s total was built around a partnership of 177 between captain Ben Brown, his third century in consecutive championship matches, and Stiaan van Zyl, who made his highest score for Sussex. They make a traditionally perfect combination – one right handed, one left; one back foot t’other keen to get forward. van Zyl credited his partner with making thing easier for him as the bowlers sometimes failed to adjust –  “Ben’s technique of going so far back in the crease helps me and I got a lot on the half volley. This hundred is up there as one of my best. My hundred on debut for South Africa is still number one, but this one is second. Luckily for me it happened at such a wonderful ground.”

Four: Ben Brown also relished the setting: “Walking off with a hundred to a standing ovation from a packed pavilion is as good as it gets for a county cricketer. My parents were here and they were pretty emotional about it as well. It was one of the magical days of my career.”

Five: The first day of the match was Middlesex’s annual Ladies Day. Ladies got free entry and a sparkling wine reception at the top of the Mound Stand at noon. Men were also invited to this reception, but only if accompanied by a lady and if dressed in jacket and tie. There was even a smattering of hats to match those at Ladies Day at Ascot. The overall crowd for that day, 3,208, was, as a Middlesex spokesman confirmed, ‘more than we would usually expect on a championship day’.

Six: Tim Murtagh’s third wicket of the game, was his 680th for Middlesex, passing Angus Fraser in moving into 18th place on the list of Middlesex wicket takers. He returned to a dressing room in which had been placed a bottle of Champagne from the Middlesex MD of Cricket and a note ‘680 not out, congratulations, Angus.’


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