Sussex’s bowling attack were put to the sword by Mark Stoneman and Sam Robson’s record breaking first-wicket partnership for Middlesex.

Robson was unbeaten on 192 and Stoneman made 174 as Middlesex finished day one of the County Championship match at Hove on 400 for two.

They beat the 372 by Mike Gatting and Justin Langer against Essex in 1998 and when Stoneman was dismissed on 376, they had compiled the third highest partnership for any wicket in their history.

The second new ball brought Sussex a breakthrough when Stoneman was caught behind for 174 in the 86th over.

But Robson ploughed on and by stumps had faced 285 balls and hit 23 fours, as he walked off to a standing ovation.

It was a good toss to win with the sun out and the pitch offering little assistance but apart from one chance Robson offered on 61, when he was dropped by Oli Carter, the pair made untroubled progress.

Sussex employed seven bowlers, although George Garton was not used, but their attack was neutered by a benign surface and the unfussy way Stoneman and Robson accumulated their runs.

They had 134 on the board at lunch, with the highlight of the morning seeing Stoneman hit Dan Ibrahim for three successive boundaries.

There was a feeling Sussex would pay a heavy price when Carter dropped Robson shortly after lunch off Sean Hunt and even a change of ball in the 40th over didn’t offer any respite for them.

Stoneman drove Delray Rawlins through the covers to reach his hundred first Robson followed shortly afterwards with a boundary off Crocombe. They added 154 runs in the afternoon and Robson took only 55 more balls to reach 150.

When the partnership went past 338 it was the highest Sussex have conceded against Middlesex, beating a record set by Robert Lucas and Tim O’Brien in 1895.


Eventually Stoneman played a tired shot at Crocombe, and this time Carter held on.

Hunt picked up belated rewards when Steve Eskinazi (4) was caught behind just before stumps, but it was a tough day for Sussex’s young attack.