County Championship, at Hove: Warwickshire 545 (I J L Trott 178, V Chopra 105, R Clarke 78 no T R Ambrose 75) v Sussex 80-5. Warwickshire (8pts) drew with Sussex (5pts)
Rarely can a cricket ground have looked so desolate as Hove did on Sunday as storms lashing the south coast sentenced Warwickshire’s game against Sussex to a draw.
After dominating the first two days, the Bears were deeply frustrated by a deluge which allowed only 45 minutes’ play on the third day and washed out the fourth altogether.
In reply to the Bears’ total of 545, Sussex were due to resume on the final morning in desperate trouble at 80 for five, still 316 short of the follow-on figure.
But the players reached the ground on Sunday morning to find large pools of water on the ground, more rain falling and the sight-screen at the Sea End reduced to wreckage having been blown over by near-hurricane force winds during the night.
So dangerous had opening bowlers Chris Wright and Keith Barker looked in the brief passage of play on Saturday, when they took wickets in three successive overs, that the Bears fancied their chances of taking another 15, even if they were allowed just two sessions on the final day.
But there was never a chance as the rain piled down so heavily that some of the seagulls on the outfield were actually floating rather than standing.
So Warwickshire’s winning start to the season was halted but their momentum remains high as they head towards a clash with long-time bogey side Durham at Edgbaston on Wednesday.
To beat a Durham side which has become accustomed to whipping the Bears would properly unveil Jim Troughton’s side as genuine title contenders.
Meanwhile, in a strange final twist to a rather surreal scene at Hove, the seagulls started eating the stricken sight-screen.