Monday, May 27, 2024

Preview: Sussex v Yorkshire, Vitality County Championship – Yorkshire County Cricket Club

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‘Oh I do like to be beside the seaside’. 

Yorkshire are certainly hoping that will be the case when they face Sussex at The 1st Central County Ground, Hove, starting tomorrow (11am), in their latest Vitality County Championship fixture.

The county’s sixth Division Two match of the summer sees them go in search of their first victory following four draws and a defeat.

Defeat against Middlesex at Lord’s aside, Yorkshire have had the better of every game they’ve played. Unfortunately, for one reason or another, they have been unable to dot the i’s and cross the t’s on a victory or two. 

Weather has been a longstanding and frustrating issue, but so too has being unable to bowl sides out on flat pitches in the second innings. 

Glamorgan at Headingley last time out was an example, Gloucestershire on the final day at Bristol last month another.

Picture by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images. Sussex’s picturesque Hove home.

Make no mistake, though, this would be the ideal time for Yorkshire to strike and give their promotion push a shot in the arm given Sussex currently sit atop of the Division Two table.

Given there are eight games left after this one, it has not yet reached ‘must win’ stage for Yorkshire. Far from it. The fact they have picked up two 16-point hauls in their last two draws against Derbyshire and Glamorgan at Headingley has been very useful indeed and kept them in touch with the pacesetters.

But this fixture has the feel of a ‘could do with winning’ about it.

Coach Ottis Gibson agrees.

“I think we need a win pretty soon,” said the Bajan. 

“We’re playing well, but we’re not winning. 

Ottis Gibson

Picture by Ian Roman. Ottis Gibson has his eyes set on a first victory of the summer. 

“A win would go a long way to confirming that the things we’re doing are the right things – the way we’re playing is the right way and the way we’re going about our business is the right way. A win would definitely go a long way towards that. 

“We’re looking forward to the game. Hopefully this is the one where get over the line, and certainly everybody will be a lot happier for that.”

Yorkshire drew both matches against Sussex last year. They were likely winners of both but for final day rain ruining their chances at Hove and then Headingley.

Of the Hove one, last April, Yorkshire were 138-3 chasing 201 to win. 

They fought back expertly from conceding a first-innings lead of 63, bowling Sussex out for 137 in their second innings. 

Ben Coad claimed a first-innings five-for and finished with six in the match. He also hit 45 from number 11 in the first innings to recover Yorkshire from 239-9 in their reply to 361. 

Ben Coad

Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com. Ben Coad starred with ball and bat at Hove last year. 

A repeat of that performance this weekend would hopefully, with a fair wind, bring about more reward for Gibson, captain Shan Masood and their side.

Sixth-placed Yorkshire, eight points off Middlesex in second, head to the South Coast 18 points adrift of leaders Sussex, who have who won two, drawn two and lost one. 

They were beaten by nine wickets inside three days at Glamorgan on Sunday, the hosts chasing a victory target of just 56. 

Sussex continue to be coached by former Yorkshire second-team coach Paul Farbrace, while winter signing John Simpson, the ex-England ODI wicketkeeper-batter, is their captain.

Yorkshire’s former overseas batter Cheteshwar Pujara has returned to Hove for another stint, while he is joined by West Indian fast bowler Jayden Seales, who is the division’s leading wicket-taker with 26 so far.

England Test seamer Ollie Robinson, also a former Yorkshire player, missed the Glamorgan game to rest having been made available for five of the first seven matches by the ECB.

Pujara

Picture by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images. Jordan Thompson appeals successfully for the wicket of Cheteshwar Pujara at Hove last season. 

Before a ball was bowled this season, that was the same situation for Joe Root. He will play this week before missing the Northamptonshire match at Wantage Road next weekend. 

Harry Brook is not available to Yorkshire having begun his preparations for next month’s T20 World Cup in the West Indies and USA.

It means Yorkshire, who come into this fixture having had a round free of action last weekend, will have to make a change to their top order and then another at Northampton. 

George Hill is in contention having missed out on selection for the Glamorgan draw the week before last, while James Wharton is another strong contender having posted recent second-team scores of 96 and 117 not out. Both are in the squad for Sussex. 

With good form below first-team level – Will Luxton is another who has started the summer well for the seconds – and runs in the first team from the likes of Adam Lyth, Fin Bean and Jonny Tattersall, confidence is high that others can step up.

Tattersall, with two fluent fifties to his name so far, said: “We’ve got a lot of good talent in the squad, and it’s great that they’re scoring runs. They can only go out and play what they’re playing against and score the runs.

Jonny Tattersall and Harry Brook

Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com. Jonny Tattersall and Harry Brook chat whilst at the crease against Glamorgan at Headingley in Yorkshire’s last match.

“It’s difficult. I’ve had it when I was here before and we won the Championship. You know it’s difficult to get into a side when it’s full of star-studded batters. 

“It’s down to all of us, even Beany in his second year, Hilly’s still relatively early and myself. 

“We’ve got to stand up as players, and we can’t just rely on the lads coming back (Brook and Root).

“We always know they’re going to score runs. Rooty’s always great for two hundreds when he comes back and plays, we know Brooky’s going to score runs. 

“But the crunch time is, ‘Can we stand up?’ And we need to if we’re going to get out of this division.

“We need to stand up as players and as a team and produce the goods.”

Jayden Seales

Picture by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images. West Indian quick Jayden Seales has been in fine form for Sussex at the start of this summer. 

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