Pujara hits form for Sussex against Middlesex

Cheteshwar Pujara plays a shot for Sussex
Sussex batter Cheteshwar Pujara ended the opening day unbeaten on 91 [Getty Images]

Vitality County Championship Division Two, Lord's (day one)

Sussex 295-4: Pujara 91*, Simpson 71*; Bamber 2-82

Middlesex: Yet to bat

Sussex 1 pt, Middlesex 0 pts

Match scorecard

Cheteshwar Pujara hit form to help Sussex into a strong position against Middlesex as they closed on 295-four after being asked to bat on day one of their County Championship match at Lord's.

The India Test veteran ended the opening day unbeaten on 91. His patient knock formed part of an unbroken stand of 131 with his captain John Simpson, who struck 71 not out on his return to the county where he spent 15 seasons.

Ethan Bamber claimed two wickets for the home side, with Ryan Higgins and Henry Brookes taking one apiece.

Bamber struck first when he bowled Tom Haines through the gate for 40 to break the opening partnership of 66. The home side claimed two more wickets before lunch, with Higgins having Tom Clark caught behind off a bottom edge.

Higgins pulled off a blinding catch when Tom Alsop edged Brookes to third slip, twisting to his left to clasp a sharp chance just above the turf.

James Coles was eventually undone by static footwork when Bamber had him caught behind for 33 and the bowler found a consistent line against former team-mate Simpson, back at Lord’s for the first time since his switch to Hove.

Despite some early playing and missing, Simpson settled down with a classy cover-driven boundary off Brookes, keeping Pujara company while he advanced beyond his half-century for the third time this season.

Sussex skipper Simpson capitalised on being caught off a no-ball, dancing down the track to slam Luke Hollman to the boundary and chopping him through gully for two to secure the visitors’ first batting bonus point.

There was another escape for Simpson soon after passing 50, fencing a rising delivery from Tom Helm to gully, where Hollman was unable to cling on – and the visitors continued to build a strong platform until bad light ended play with six overs unbowled.

Report by ECB Reporters' Network.