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Wright century gives Sussex hope
Luke Wright scored his third century of the season to give Sussex hope of salvaging something from their Championship clash with Middlesex at Hove.
Sussex looked in danger of suffering an innings defeat when they slumped to 45-4 in their second innings, still needing another 222 to make Middlesex bat again.
But Wright put on 110 with Ed Joyce (47) and 107 with Ben Brown (38) to at least take the match into a fourth day tomorrow with Sussex reaching 288-6 at the close – a lead of 21.
The England all-rounder was dropped on 51 by Sam Robson and took full advantage as he went on to complete his 11th first class century from 127 balls.
He reached the close on 151 and will need to at least match his match-saving 187 at Lord’s Sussex in the corresponding fixture at Lord’s last month if Sussex are to maintain their unbeaten record.
Sussex had started the day well by taking the last five Middlesex wickets for just 51 runs as they went from 445-5 overnight to 496 all out.
Panesar did the majority of the damage as he claimed 4-16 in a 6.4 over spell, claiming the wicket of Gareth Berg for 39 and then mopping up Ollie Rayner, Tim Murtagh and Corey Collymore.
Chris Jordan finally got some reward for his efforts by dismissing John Simpson but not until the Middlesex wicketkeeper had brought up his half century.
The efficiency with which Sussex finished off the tail meant they had 45 minutes to bat before lunch and that was long enough for Murtagh to remove Nash for a duck – given caught at slip when the ball looked to have hit him on the shoulder.
Finn was not brought into the attack until just after lunch and his introduction had an instant impact as Middlesex picked up three wickets in ten balls.
Finn removed Luke Wells for 19 with his fourth ball and Rory Hamilton-Brown for one with his seventh – both caught in the slips – while Mike Yardy was caught behind off Collymore in between.
At that point there was a danger Sussex would not even make it through until tea but a century partnership between Ed Joyce and Wright at least postponed Middlesex’s celebrations.
Wright went on the attack to bring up his 50 off 58 balls – including four fours in an over off Finn – before being dropped on 51 by Robson in the gully.
Joyce was also dropped on five by Rayner in the slips but fell for 47 just before tea when he edged Neil Dexter’s first ball to the wicketkeeper.
Brown joined Wright to maintain the resistance and ensure the game would go into a fourth day. The pair put on 107 for the sixth wicket with Wright bringing up his century – from 127 balls – with a lovely cover drive off Collymore.
Brown gave him good support as he shook off an indifferent run of form with the bat to make 38 from 102 balls before flashing at a wide one from Gareth Berg to be caught at first slip.
Chris Jordan was still there at the close on one and he and Wright will need to bat for the majority of the morning tomorrow to give Sussex a fighting chance.
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