Sussex's bowlers enjoyed the better of the first day of two against Lancashire at the ICC Global Cricket Academy in Dubai today.
Luke Procter, Paul Horton and Stephen Moore, however, all gained some valuable time at the crease at either end of the day.
Having been asked to bat first for the day’s full allocation of 90 overs - it turned out to be 91 bowled - no matter how many wickets were lost, Procter looked solid whilst playing some eye-catching strokes down the ground and through mid-wicket during a 78-ball 43.
The left-hander, who has just spent a successful winter in Australian grade cricket with Perth club Gosnalls, was handed the opportunity to face the new ball alongside Horton, and he was the top-scorer in the first 10 wickets to fall.
“The wicket is doing a little bit and swinging about a bit,” he said during his assessment of the day shortly after being dismissed prior to lunch. “They’ve got a good attack too, so it is a very useful exercise for us.”
Lancashire were hampered by losing seven wickets for 37 runs in 15 overs during the afternoon session as they slipped from 104-3 to 141-10 before the likes of Horton and Moore made the most of their second opportunity at the crease following earlier scores of four and ten. The Red Rose finished on 301-12 from 91.
Horton hit an unbeaten 83 off 123 balls and Moore 46 off 33. The pair shared 95 in 14 overs for the 12th wicket. Sussex will bat all day tomorrow regardless of how many wickets they lose.
Lancashire-born seam duo Jimmy Anyon and Andrew Miller, on trial after his release from Warwickshire, both claimed four wickets apiece under overcast skies. Anyon removed Procter, Karl Brown for an encouraging 25, Kyle Hogg and Oliver Newby, while Miller got rid of Horton first time around, Steven Croft, Tom Smith and Wayne White.
Horton then posted a 68-ball fifty after tea, while Moore hit three sixes straight down the ground, over long-off and long-on off the spinners.
While Horton and Moore scored more runs later in the day, Procter did his chances of opening the batting against Worcestershire in the LV= County Championship Division Two opener at Emirates Old Trafford on April 10 no harm at all.
The 24-year-old faced the new ball in the last four Championship matches of last season, posting scores of 36 and 30.
He has spent the majority of his winter playing in Perth, where he scored 555 runs and took 38 wickets in 12 two-day games.
“I think I achieved what I wanted to achieve,” he said of his time Down Under. “I wanted to get out there and have a good bat and bowl. I batted at five. I’d have liked to have opened the batting for them, but they already had their openers and minds set on them.
“It was the best level I could have played at other than state cricket out there. It would have been nice to play against the likes of (Mike) Hussey and (Mitchell) Johnson, who were in the same competition, but they only played a couple of games.
“Nothing’s been said (about the Lancashire opening partnership), but I hope I do get to bat there. I’d love to bat there and bowl a bit when needed.”
Photo: Paul Holliday/LCCC