Yorkshire 96 & 248, Sussex 356
Sussex won by a innings and 12 runs
To say it was a comprehensive win would be an understatement.
Sussex went to Headingley and handed Yorkshire their first four-day match loss in their last 19 played. It was professional yet stylish cricket, and a welcome start to what appears to be a promising season for the south coasters.
The performance was a road map on how to win a first class cricket match: bowl aggressively, get a big lead, put your opponent under pressure, and wrap it all up before lunch on the fourth day.
Chris Jordan, who could play for England if he wanted, put up first innings totals of 6 for 48, so while he was expensive, he did his job: he took wickets. And Yorkshire, after Sussex put them in, were all out for only 96 before tea on day one, only lasting a couple balls more than 46 overs.
In response, Sussex batted for 80+ overs and scored 356 first innings runs, thanks to 90s from Ed Joyce and Ben Brown. The latter, Matt Prior’s understudy with the gloves, was born and raised in Crawley, Sussex.
Sussex batted through most of day two, and Yorkshire again capitulated in the 2nd innings: Lees was out for four; Gale was out for three; and Rafiq fell for a duck.
The bowling highlight for Sussex the second go-round was Steve Magoffin and his five for 51 in 21+ overs. The 30 something Australian journeyman quick started back up right where he left off after a successful 2012 with Sussex, his first season for the club after stints at Leicestershire, Worcestershire, and Surrey.
Day three ended with Yorkshire still down by 32 runs but with only two wickets in hand.
And Sussex only needed 32 balls the next morning to finish off the County Championships’ most successful club, with Chris Jordan having a hand in both wickets.
It’s a long season of course, but always best to start off any campaign with a victory, and for Sussex to do so with such conviction bodes well for the summer of 2013.
The 23 points earned at Headingley put them at the top of the table in a tie with Middlesex.
Up next for Sussex is a trip to the Kia Oval for a County Championship match against Surrey.
Surrey did not play during this first week of play.
I know I had promised to give the IPL a try this year, and I have been watching, and I have been enjoying it. But I must say that despite the fact that I can watch every ball of the IPL on Willow.TV in HD while I am forced to follow County matches via Cricinfo and BBC radio and delayed highlights on Youtube, I actually still enjoy the County matches more.
That is not to say that one is better than the other, this is just a matter of personal taste.
It is interesting to think that the County Championship and the IPL are even the same sport; they are simply so vastly different.
There’s an old saying that my grandfather used a lot: same church, different pew. And that’s how I always viewed cricket’s different leagues. But I really don’t think that is apt description anymore. I think it’s more same city, different church.
I know that cricket is unique in the sporting landscape because of its different formats, but for two tournaments to be such polar opposites is just not seen otherwise. Japanese baseball and Major League Baseball are similar enough, and the South American football leagues are very similar to their European cousins.
However, I don’t see this as a detriment. I like that cricket has different things to offer different people. It’s got a little something for everyone. I think that in this day and age diversity of any kind is a strength. But I also think it could become a detriment if the fans, the players, the boards, the press…etc are not vigilant in the protection of the game.
The BBC made every County match available to listen to online worldwide and 80,000 people tuned in the first day. Initiatives such as that are what cricket needs right now.
Thankfully, the one thing all cricket fans can agree on is that are real problems with the game right now. I believe that firmly, despite my continued opinion that cricket is in the midst of a golden age.
And because we all believe that, if we can all somehow work together to fix the things that we can all agree are a problem, then this game, in all its variations and diversity, will be around for generations to come. The County game, the IPL, the World Cups, the Ashes, Tests, T20s, ODIs, Southeast Asia, Africa, the Caribbean, Oceania, the UK: all for one and one for all.