Sussex Frustrate Aussies
The Sussex tail end batted well enough to keep Australia in the field virtually all day on Thursday at Hove as the county moved within 38 of the touring side's first-day total in reaching 311 all out.
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Though none of the 11 home batsmen in this 12-a-side friendly managed a half-century, Sussex fended off Australia's four main strike bowlers.
With their toil eventually done, seven overs remained for the tourists in the day and Phillip Hughes (17) and Simon Katich (0) ensured they reached 18 without loss for an overall lead of 56.
A near 7,000 crowd had plenty to keep them entertained once Ricky Ponting elected to declare on his side's overnight total of 349 for seven after 90 overs in order to let loose his pace quartet.
Though the pitch at this south coast ground is generally flat and slow, the touring attack generated sufficient pace and menace to have the Sussex top order hopping about from first delivery..
Sussex wicketkeeper Andrew Hodd took a blow to his neck after failing to avoid a Stuart Clark bouncer then, just before the close, former England seamer James Kirtley topped up the total with four leg byes after he ducked into a Brett Lee bouncer that grazed his batting helmet and flew past Brad Haddin to the ropes at fine leg.
It was appreciated by the partisan crowd, if not by Ponting and his perspiring bowlers who added to their own workload by conceding 40 extras, including 22 no balls.
Sussex's reply started badly when they lost skipper Michael Yardy to the 20th ball of the innings as he padded up to a Ben Hilfenhaus off-cutter to go for five.
Ed Joyce, the last England batsman to score a century against Australia - in a one-day international in Sydney 18 months ago - looked set to stay longer but, with his score on 15 the left-hander's hurried hook shot off a Peter Siddle bouncer merely skied to the wicketkeeper.
Sussex lost a third wicket before lunch when Carl Hopkinson, having posted the team's 50 with a cracking cover-driven four, drove away from his body at Siddle's very next delivery to nick to Haddin, this time diving in front of first slip.
A fourth-wicket stand of 59 in 13 overs ended soon after lunch when Chris Nash, the most convincing and stylish of the home batsman, played back in defence from a good ball from Clark to edge to second slip for a patient 45 from 102 balls.
Three overs later England one-day international Luke Wright (22) tossed away his wicket when, in aiming to cut a third boundary of the over, he wafted at a wider, quicker delivery from Lee and edged to slip.
Muscular right-hander Rory Hamilton-Brown also perished when trying to carry the attack to the Aussies. After hitting 37 from 54 balls, including the only six of the innings, he was bowled by Lee.
Though still 130 in arrears at tea, Sussex continued to cut the deficit with a dogged seventh-wicket stand of 86 in 23 overs between Robin Martin-Jenkins and Hodd which ended with a lazy back-foot waft by the former which gifted Haddin a third catch of the innings.
Hodd fell in Clark's next over after scoring 40 in two hours when his attempted run down toward third man flew to slip giving Clark respectable figures of three for 46.
Though Hauritz conceded 98 runs in his 18 overs of mediocre off-spin, Simon Katich at least tasted some success with his leg-spinners when snaring Oli Rayner (25) leg before after he missed an attempted sweep.
Lee returned down the slope to end the innings just after 6pm by bowling last man Kirtley to finish with an admirable three for 53, while Siddle, the pick of the attack in the early exchanges, took two for 33.