Brothers Jack and Matt Taylor produced some unexpected resistance to keep Sussex waiting for victory in their Specsavers County Championship clash at Hove.
Gloucestershire’s last-wicket pair survived for 11.2 overs after Sussex claimed the extra half hour to try to force victory in three days, taking their side to 149 for 8 at stumps with Liam Norwell unable to bat after suffering a concussion on the second day. They still need 11 runs to make Sussex bat again.
After piling up 527 to take a first-innings lead of 160, Sussex reduced Gloucestershire to 112 for 8 with Chris Jordan taking four wickets in two impressive spells down the slope.
But Jack Taylor struck successive sixes off Luke Wells to go to an unbeaten half-century and Matt showed the sort of determination lacking in some of his team-mates as he defied Jordan and the impressive Jofra Archer on a pitch offering assistance to the quicks.
But Sussex will surely complete what would be only their second win of the season tomorrow after a dominant performance on the third day.
Sussex batting hero Ben Brown said: “It’s a bit disappointing that we couldn’t have finished them off tonight, but we would have taken that position at the start of their second innings.
“It’s still a pretty good wicket to bat on. There is a little bit of inconsistent bounce but the way our seamers ran in hard was exceptional. By his own standards CJ (Chris Jordan) didn’t bowl well in the first innings but he was superb and backed up by the others while Danny Briggs has nipped in with two wickets including the key one of Michael Klinger.
“I was delighted to get another hundred and credit must go to our top order because they got us into a great position and I was able to come in and pretty much attack from the first ball.
“If we can win this game I think we’re definitely in the chase for promotion. No team is running away from it and we’ve got a bit of momentum now. But first of all we’ve got to make sure we get the game won. The weather is set fair and after a night’s rest the bowlers will be fresh for the morning.”
Brown set the tone by scoring 113 at nearly a run a ball – his second century of the season – in a stand of 147 in 30 overs with Jordan, who contributed 52.
At 516 for 6 Sussex would have fancied an even greater lead, but they carelessly lost their last four wickets for 11 in 6.1 overs, giving a tiring Gloucestershire attack some belated respite.
The visitors were soon under pressure again, however. Steve Magoffin, who took five wickets in the first innings, pinned Will Tavare with his seventh ball and before tea Jordan had claimed two wickets, knocking back Benny Howell’s middle stump before Chris Dent (15) was caught behind off an attempted upper cut in the last over before the break.
Gloucestershire slumped to 34 for 4 when skipper Michael Klinger, who made an unbeaten 129 in the first innings, drove airily in David Wiese’s first over. Phil Mustard and Hamish Marshall (15) affected a recovery of sorts, but on 81 Marshall was superbly taken one-handed to his left at short leg by Christian Davis to give left-arm spinner Danny Briggs a wicket with his first ball.
Mustard (19) was given a torrid time by Archer but eventually succumbed to spin when his sweep shot struck Davis, looped into the air and Jordan ran across from slip to take an excellent diving catch.
Graeme van Burren (1), who spent time off the field after losing a tooth and injuring his shoulder, was pinned in front when Jordan returned for a second spell and the England man then had Craig Miles (2) caught at leg gully unsuccessfully trying to fend off a bouncer, but Sussex were unable to prise apart the defiant Taylor brothers.
The first half of the day had been dominated by Brown, who made sure the good work done by Sussex’s top order on the second day did not go to waste.
Matt Taylor picked up two wickets with the second new ball as Wiese (47) was caught long leg off a mis-timed pull before Luke Wells fell lbw to a ball which straightened on the left-hander. Wells hit 18 fours in his 120 from 257 balls.
But Brown improvised well and punished anything off the straight as he raced to his first 50 from just 45 balls and Jordan gave him excellent support as the Gloucestershire attack felt the strain of Norwell’s absence.
Taylor took 4 for 120 but it was their part-time bowlers who finished the innings. Dent took two wickets with his off breaks, bowling Jordan for 52 before Brown missed an attempted reverse sweep after hitting 14 fours and a six in 118 balls.
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