Karl Brown chose the perfect time to score his maiden first-class hundred as Lancs assumed control of their Championship match against Sussex.
The 22 year-old right-hander, in only his 18th innings, was aided by Mark Chilton’s 87 off 184 balls in reply to the visitors’ first innings total of 243 all out.
Despite losing night-watchman Gary Keedy and opener Stephen Moore in the opening session today, Brown displayed plenty of maturity as he notched three figures off 177 balls in the 73rd over of the innings.
Chilton had notched fifty only two balls earlier off the bowling of Jimmy Anyon.
Brown finished with 114 off 236 balls, including 18 boundaries, the highest four-day score by a Lancashire player on this ground since Graeme Fowler’s 169 against Kent in 1987.
Lancashire closed the day on 311-5 from 111 overs, and they lead by 76 runs going into tomorrow’s third day.
Brown said: “I just wanted to get off the mark. When I first got in, it was really hard work. But I took my time to get going – and, once I got to 20-odd, I felt really good.
“The pitch was pretty good. It was slow and difficult to get used to, but when you get in it was proved in their first innings that it’s a really good pitch to bat on.”
Sussex had started proceedings positively because Monty Panesar – later warned for running on the pitch – had Keedy caught at silly mid-off by Joe Gatting and Amjad Khan forced Moore to chop on whilst attempting a full blooded pull to a ball that kept low.
That left the hosts at 64-3 in the 30th over, but Brown and Chilton steadily built a fourth wicket partnership of 180 inside 62 overs.
Brown signed professional terms at Old Trafford in 2006, but this is only his seventh Championship appearance. His previous first-class best was the 72 against Oxford MCCU at the Parks last weekend.
“I didn’t feel there was any real kind of pressure on me,” continued Brown. “But, having said that, it is quite a relief to get my first hundred. I feel really proud.”
He hit two boundaries off Naveed Arif in the 31st over and two more off Anyon in the 70th. He was dropped by Arif at square-leg, a difficult, forward-diving catch, whilst on 82.
Chilton was also in good form, the county’s beneficiary mixing defence with fluent stroke play that was most in evidence shortly after the tea break when he eased consecutive boundaries through the covers off Arif.
But Sussex found a spark in the final session of the day, with Rana Naved-ul-Hasan bowling Chilton and Anyon bowling Brown in the space of a little over five overs to leave Lancs at 266-5 in the 97th over.
The double strike inevitably slowed up the scoring rate, but Steven Croft (37 not out) and Tom Smith (20 not out) calmly steered Lancs past 300 runs – signalling their sixth bonus point of the match – with an unbeaten half-century stand.
Brown added: “We’re in a great position now. Crofty and Smithy are looking good and we’ve still got batting to come. We can’t ask to be in a better position. Hopefully we’ll get the runs on the board and give the bowlers something to bowl at.”
Day 1 Report
Photos (c) Simon Pendrigh
Article is copyright of Lancashire CCC Ltd and must not be reproduced without permission