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Fired-up Worcester batter Sussex with a bowling blitz; Sussex v Worcs Vikram Solanki.

WORCESTERSHIRE closed in on their second Championship win of the season at Hove last night after their team bowlers ripped through the Sussex top order.

Sussex lost both openers in clearing a first innings deficit of 53 and then their key batsmen Chris Adams and Michael Bevan, were removed in successive overs.

They were effectively 28-5 when Alamgear Sheriyar had Andy Patterson caught in the gully with 14 overs remaining in the day.

Glenn McGrath returned to the attack and bowled Tony Cottey's shouldering arm. And in the penultimate over Robin Martin-Jenkins was caught off a top edge off Vikram Solanki to reduce Sussex to 113-7.

They closed on 114-7, a lead of just 61 and it appears only rain today can deny Worcestershire.

McGrath made the breakthrough in his third over when he drew Toby Peirce into a defensive push and found a feint edge with a perfect outswinger.

Bevan added 40 with Richard Montgomerie before Montgomerie was trapped in front for 24 when he only got half forward to a full- length ball from medium pacer Stuart Lampitt.

Sussex skipper Adams had already had two let offs when he drove Sheriyar straight to cover and Lampitt then removed dangerman Bevan for the second time in the match although the Australian seemed to get a good stride forward and had every right to feel aggreived about the eleventh lbw verdict of the contest.

The best batting of the day came from Vikram Solanki who fell agonisingly short of his seventh first-class century. Solanki had moved effortlessly into the 90s by driving successive deliveries from left-arm spinner Umer Rashid to the boundary. But on 98 he attempted to hit Rashid back over his head but only succeeded in drilling a high return catch to the bowler.

Some of Solanki's stroke play especially off the back foot, had been a joy to watch. His intentions were clear from the start when he cover- drove two boundaries in the first over of the day from Jason Lewry before punching off successive drives through backward point to reach his 50.

Solanki had struck 18 boundaries in an innings of 159 balls and Worcestershire's scoring rate dried up after his departure with the next 13 overs bringing just 21 runs.

James Kirtley led the fight back by taking three wickets before the declaration during a hostile spell of fast bowling down the slope. Lampitt top edged an attempted pull after a Kirtley lifter climbed on him, Richard Illingworth was leg before offering no shot and McGrath, who had just hit Rashid for six offered a return catch to the bowler.

Earlier Solanki and Reuben Spiring had put together the most enterprising partnership of the day, adding 90 in 20 overs for the third wicket before Spiring drove Mark Robinson straight to cover.

Solanki survived four leg before appeals from Martin-Jenkins and he was reprieved again after lunch when umpire Ken Palmer had decided that a ball from Rashid had deflected off his pad on its way to Adams at slip.
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Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:May 21, 2000
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