So far this season Sussex three games against Hampshire, Worcestershire and Durham could have gone either way. It was much the same against Middlesex at Hove yesterday. Sussex dominated the day dismissing Middlesex for 269. However we lost 3 wickets for 66 runs in the final hour and the game is delicately poised.
The pitch was relaid and seems to have some spring to aid the Sussex speedsters who also benefited from low cloud cover in the morning. We have no spin bowler to match Mushtaq Ahmed so it was just as well. The find of the season has been Olly Robinson who left Yorkshire under a cloud. Against Durham he posted a maiden century and with Matt Hobson broke the record for last wicket. He continued the good work yesterday with 4-46 off twenty overs. The metronomic Steve Magoffin made his normal essential contribution. At 35 he is too old for selection but he will be taking up British citizenship and looked to me a more useful bowler for England than Steve Finn. It shows the depth of Aussie talent that Magoffin has never been considered for the baggy green cap.
The talk in the Players Club was more of ex-Sussex championship-winning coach Peter Moores’ shabby treatment.
By all accounts the sacking came out of the blue but, in the context of ECB Chairman’s Groves comments about failure in West Indies and the appointment of Andrew Struass, not all that surprising.
I wonder if James Whittaker will be sacked too as Chairman of Selectors and then who will put the county assessment grind? A good example of its benefit was the dismissal of young Sam Robson by Magoffin. The ball before roughed him up and he was all over the crease defending himself and the stumps. The next delivery was well wide but Robson wafted at it and was caught behind. He should have left it to recover his composure. Of course he is behind Adam Lyth of Yorkshire but he does not look test class to me. My view on Moores is that he has proved himself a fine coach at county level with Sussex and Lancashire but finds it harder to work with bigger egos and the press at international level. Talk is he might coach India. England might be in a better place without either egos or press but they are part of the landscape. Strauss, they say, brings two Ashes victories and is closer in age to the current international crop. Football tells us though that playing achievement is not a reliable indicator of a winning coach.