Cricket latest: Yorkshire held to draw by Sussex

Jonny Bairstow
Jonny Bairstow
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Luke Wells scored his second half-century of the match as Sussex batted through the final day at Arundel to draw their LV= County Championship Division One clash with Yorkshire.

A stalemate had always looked the likely outcome with only eight wickets falling on the final two days on a slow pitch offering precious little assistance to either seamers or spinners.

And Sussex were comfortably placed on 228 for three and leading by 74 runs when the players shook hands on a draw, with the home side taking four points from the match and Yorkshire five - which lifts them level with Nottinghamshire at the top of the table.

Wells suffered a side-strain in last week’s match against Somerset and needed an injection to be able to play so his 81, which followed 74 in the first innings, was a worthy effort by the 23-year-old left-hander.

He faced 246 balls and batted for nearly five hours, hitting nine boundaries, before he became a second victim for part-time off-spinner Adam Lyth, who bowled him with a delivery which turned out of the rough.

Sussex had been 154 in arrears after the first innings but lost just one wicket in wiping out the deficit. Opener Chris Nash had played with as much freedom as anyone for his 53 when he pushed forward to off-spinner Azeem Rafiq and was well caught at slip by Lyth.

Wells had a reprieve on 19 when Jonny Bairstow dropped him behind the stumps off Rafiq and by lunch he had added just seven runs to his score.

But he played with more freedom in the afternoon session, particularly against the spinners, as he and Rory Hamilton-Brown forged a partnership of 110 for the second wicket to frustrate Yorkshire.

Hamilton-Brown went to his second half-century of the season with six fours and a straight six off Rafiq but on 62 he was caught at backward point to give Lyth only his seventh first-class wicket.

When Wells was third out with the total of 212 there were still 24 overs remaining but Luke Wright and Matt Machan saw Sussex home as the teams shook hands at 4.50pm.

Sussex coach Mark Robinson praised Wells’ resilience, saying: “We’ve had to patch him up a bit to get him out there and you can tell that the injury inhibited him a bit in terms of playing certain shots.

“But he’s a solid player and runs this week will give him confidence. He’s a determined character who is happy to absorb pressure and hopefully this will allow him to kick on in the second half of the season.”

Yorkshire coach Jason Gillespie felt the wicket had negated both sides.

He said: “The pitch got lower and slower as the game went on. It did not really promote first-class cricket and was a challenge for both teams to try and score at a decent run-rate.

“There was a lack of bounce and it was tough for the batsmen. Jonny Bairstow is quite an attacking player but with no slips and ring fields even he found it very difficult to push the scoring rate forward.”