Sussex, with batsmen numbers 8 and 10 at the crease required an unlikely 15 off the final over, Tim Linley conceded 14, including a wide, to allow them to tie the game. The total was always vulnerable given the batting strength of Sussex, but credit to the bowlers and debutant Zafar Ansari in particular as they restricted their opponents - though ultimately not by enough.
Hamilton-Brown, after his barnstorming 80 off 41 on Wednesday, was out in the first over having taken three boundaries off Kirtley which heaped plenty of pressure onto the young shoulders of Jason Roy, and the very capable shoulders of Kevin Pietersen.
Pietersen gave the most emphatic of answers to the selectors who won't be able to call on him in the first Twenty20 against Pakistan tomorrow by cracking 116 off 105 balls, after Roy's 60 the next highest score was Schofield on 18. That 60 from Roy was made from the openers slot, giving us the bizarre situation of having three good openers in limited overs cricket and none in four day cricket.
For the umpteenth time our lack of power in the lower middle order cost us the 20 or so runs that would've won us the game comfortably, we dropped from 117-1 to 240 all out, the last eight batsmen added just 40 to the total.
Dernbach was again expensive, that he is our joint leading wicket taker in the competition with 12 at 45 apiece and an economy rate of over 7 from 11 matches really says a lot - he needs to work hard on his consistency. Meaker was better today and aside from his disastrous final over Linley wasn't being carted about. Hamilton-Brown left it very late to introduce Ansari who was probably the pick of the bowlers on the day, he was left with three overs unbowled which might have proved the difference in the final analysis.
In a competition that promised so much - we won five of our first six completed games, we tailed away really badly, failing to win in four of the last five matches, losing three of those quite heavily. That smacks of a failure to adapt once 'Plan A' failed. In too many games we suffered from a lack of batting depth - some of that can be attributed to the lack of a genuine allrounder at the club, but some can also be attributed to poor selection.
Adams and Hamilton-Brown now have two Championship games in which to strengthen the impression that this season has been one of progress, albeit limited, rather than stagnation. Pietersen has four Championship innings to continue his run scoring, Ramprakash and Tremlett must come back in and on the strength of his performance today I wouldn't be disappointed to see Ansari come in to replace Batty. Linley, Meaker and Dunn will compete for probably two bowling slots, and personally the latter two would be my preference.
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