Sussex 7 for 2 trail Northamptonshire 273 (Zaib 54, Robinson 6-63) by 266 runs
It is little wonder that Sussex seamer Ollie Robinson has been hoping for a call-up for the England Lions this summer. While the sensational Jofra Archer, his Sussex team-mate, has been capturing headlines, Robinson has been slowly building a reputation as one of the most consistent opening bowlers on the county circuit.
When he took his fifth wicket on Sunday, on the opening day of the County Championship Division Two match against Northants, he had reached 200 first-class wickets in only his 50th match. He has now taken 110 Championship wickets since the beginning of last season. Last year he took 74 wickets at 18.66, and this summer he already has 36 at 18.77 as he spearheads his side’s bid for promotion.
Robinson was not fully fit for last week’s disappointing defeat at home to Durham. But against Northants at Hove he was back to his best, achieving nasty bounce and away movement.
He finished with figures of 6 for 63 as Northants were bowled out for 273 in 87 overs. But the away side were still happy with their score after winning the toss and sliding to 96 for 4 at lunch, and then 205 for 9.
Northants have replaced Durham at the foot of the table and are still looking for their first Championship win of the season. Their hopes of making an impact were encouraged by the number of Sussex absentees. They were already without Archer and the injured Mir Hamza, and before this match all-rounder Chris Jordan pulled out with tonsillitis, along with Stiaan van Zyl, who has tennis elbow.
Sussex were more in need of Robinson than ever before, and he didn’t disappoint. He broke through with the last ball of the opening over, when he had Ricardo Vasconcelos lbw for two. It was 29 for 2 when Rob Newton edged Robinson to keeper Ben Brown.
Temba Bavuma got an inside edge to Brown, then Alex Wakely, on 36, was beaten by David Wiese and Laurie Evans took the catch at second slip.
There didn’t look much chance of a recovery when Rob Keogh was lbw to Robinson with just one run added to the lunch score. And, in Robinson’s next over, Luke Procter edged and Luke Wells took an outstanding catch at third slip, moving his long arms very quickly to his left to take the chance two-handed.
With Northants 99 for 6, captain Adam Rossington and Saif Zaib put on 51 for the seventh wicket and there was a last-wicket stand of 68 between Nathan Buck and Ben Sanderson before Robinson and Abi Sakande finished off the innings.
Northants soon made an impact with the ball. Varun Chopra, signed on loan from Essex to stiffen their top-order batting, made just five and the returning Phil Salt a single.