Battling Fin Bean rides his luck as Yorkshire fight to stay in the hunt at Hove
What marvel of fielder was this chap, as Orr took up his spot at the Sea End side of the County Ground?
Granted, everyone who follows county cricket closely will know that Orr can bat; a glance at the 22-year-old’s first-class record shows that he averages 42.
But such fielding genius was apparently known only in Orr’s native Eastbourne and surrounding districts; after all, another glance at his record shows that he has taken just 14 catches in his professional career.
Following the big build-up by the man on the mic, which betokened thrilling athleticism and trouble for Yorkshire, cue the best commentator’s curse you are likely to hear.
For twice in the space of four balls - the final delivery of Robinson’s opening over, the first of the innings, and then the third of his second over - “the best leg slip fielder probably in the world” dropped the Yorkshire opener Fin Bean - the first a straightforward chance that would have given Sussex an immediate boon, the second a more difficult opportunity, diving to his right.
As it was, Bean and Adam Lyth, the Yorkshire stand-in captain, who would have been separated with the total on three or nine had those chances been accepted, added 50 for the first-wicket to lay the platform for an initially good response from Yorkshire, who reached 136-2 in reply to Sussex’s 361, but who later wobbled to close day two on 216-7.
Bean went on to the top score of 49, batting for not far short of three hours, having started his season with an excellent hundred against Leicestershire at Headingley, with Yorkshire losing the key scalp of Shai Hope just before the close, bowled by one that kept worryingly low.
Just 21 and playing only his fifth first-class game, Bean will have to get used to opponents attempting to work him out as, of course, must all young players.
Robinson’s leg slip strategy was a clear tactic based on what could only be a small sample size of intelligence/perception; no potential weakness these days, or possible line of attack, escapes data analysts and backroom boffins.
Robinson was not at his best on a day of fluctuating weather; rain delayed the start by 70 minutes, and then sunshine alternated with thick cloud before the crowd basked in a glorious evening, with play not ending until just after 7.30pm.
Indeed, the England man had something of a problem with no-balls as he ran down the hill from the Cromwell Road end. That said, it was the former Yorkshire player’s first run-out since the Wellington Test match in February, and a little rustiness was no doubt understandable.
For Yorkshire, the day started with a flurry of wickets as they pegged Sussex back well from an overnight 275-5. The second new-ball proved potent in the hands of Ben Coad, particularly, and Matty Fisher, as the hosts collapsed to 304-9, a somewhat sloppy decline from their perspective.
Coad struck with his first delivery from the Cromwell Road end, Fynn Hudson-Prentice edging an attempted cover drive to second slip. Fisher had Nathan McAndrew caught behind pushing forward after the Australian had given him a bit of tap en route to 23 from 14 balls, Coad then pouncing twice in five balls when Oli Carter and Robinson were held in the slips.
At that stage, it looked as if Sussex would be out for little more than 300, but Jack Carson and Henry Crocombe frustrated Yorkshire with a last-wicket stand of 57, not broken until the 15th ball after a delayed lunch. Coad trapped Carson lbw to clinch a deserved five-wicket haul.
After Bean’s double reprieve at the hands of Orr, Yorkshire scrapped in difficult conditions as the clouds rolled in.
Bean is a gritty customer who sells his wicket dearly, and Lyth retains much of his class deep into his 30s, as shown when he pulled McAndrew to the boundary with trademark aplomb.
Lyth’s day ended on the stroke of tea, the left-hander misjudging a ball from McAndrew to which he shouldered arms and was lbw. In the fifth over after the break, Saud Shakeel’s first innings for Yorkshire ended in disappointment when the Pakistani also shouldered arms and heard the death rattle.
Salt was rubbed into poor Orr’s wounds when Bean almost gave him a third chance to catch him, a miscued pull landing just short as he dived forward at mid-wicket.
Carson swung things back towards Sussex when his off-spin accounted for Bean and Dawid Malan in quick succession, Bean caught behind trying to drive and Malan chopping on, the pair having added an impressive 71.
Robinson finally got among the wickets when George Hill was bowled by one that perhaps kept low, and Dom Bess picked out deep mid-wicket just before the finish.
“Hope is gone” said our friend on the mic when Shai Hope departed on the stroke of stumps.
Yorkshire will be keen to show that is not in the collective sense too.