How do you manage to go from the potentially victorious position of having the opposition (Northamptonshire) over the barrel of 157-5 on the first day to following on 167 runs behind on the second yesterday?
Ask Sussex as this is what happened.
The ball can fly around in the morning at Hove but normally when there is moisture in the air which was absent yesterday. Time and time again the ball flew past.
Seven of the dismissals yesterday came from snicks and catches taken behind the stumps. You can make excuses: no Mir Hamza, Stiilan van Zyl, no Jefra Archer and no George Garton, but the reality is that this was poor batting, an abject failure to get in line and block.
Geoff Boycott if watching would have had a nervous breakdown. Sussex were dismissed for 106 but Northants did not enforce the follow on. At close of play they were 212-4, 379 runs ahead. They will surely declare sometime today and Sussex will have to survive 4/5 sessions.
Sussex lost to Durham the bottom club last week. Northants are bottom now and it looks like another surprising but comprehensive home defeat. The natives were restless and stewards had to eject 2 members for continuous barracking.
My guest was a barrister who is deeply knowledgeable on cricket and has views worth listening to. He made the point about the World Cup that scores of 350 were predicted as necessary to win but in reality under 300 is sufficient. I added that England’s reputation as run accumulators deadly in the chase has been blown.
Now if they do not bat first they are in difficulty, as are most teams batting second.