Prior and Finn shine at Hove

Congleton Guardian: Matt Prior was back to form at Hove with the first century of the new county championship season Matt Prior was back to form at Hove with the first century of the new county championship season

Matt Prior and Steven Finn both demonstrated their well-being at the start of the new LV= County Championship season with a century and six wickets respectively at Hove.

England's Test wicketkeeper and fast bowler each need to restate their international credentials, with Prior having lost his place at the end of last winter's Ashes whitewash and Finn never able to make the team.

Following a worrying loss of form, in fact, Finn was deemed 'unpickable' by the end of the tour.

But while Prior (125) rode his luck, and smashed 19 fours and a six, on his way to and beyond his first century since the Auckland Test more than a year ago, Finn took six successive wickets as Sussex replied to Middlesex's 105 all out with 386 on day three of the opening round of fixtures.

Prior eventually fell to Finn (six for 80), having hit the first championship hundred of the summer in this opening round of matches.

He had by then ensured Sussex's control, and at the end of day three Middlesex could not rule out an innings defeat on 57 for one.

Also in Division One, Riki Wessels helped Nottinghamshire consolidate their advantage over Lancashire despite the all-round efforts of Tom Smith at Trent Bridge.

Medium-pacer Smith finished with five for 53 as the hosts collapsed from 188 for three to 220 all out in their second innings.

But thanks to 90 from Wessels, Nottinghamshire were still able to set Lancashire 349 to win - 342 of which will be needed on the final day, after the Red Rose crawled to seven for the loss of Luis Reece at stumps.

In Division Two, seamers Stuart Meaker and Tim Linley shared seven Glamorgan wickets to give Surrey the advantage in the rain-affected match at The Oval.

Meaker (four for 57) and Linley (three for 24) did most of the damage as the visitors eked out 209 in reply to the Londoners' 280 all out.

There was then still time for Graham Wagg to see off both openers in the hosts' 50 for two at stumps.

Bad weather abated at last on the south coast to allow a full day's play at the third attempt between Hampshire and Worcestershire at the Ageas Bowl, where Sean Ervine (93) and home captain Jimmy Adams (67) helped to turn 37 for three into 263 all out.

Left-arm seamer Jack Shantry finished with four for 68 for the visitors, who then reached 103 for one in a match apparently destined for a draw with bonus points still to play for on the final day.

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