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Stone and Wiese shine amid gloom in opening draw

Stone takes eight wickets while all-rounder hits ton but Warwickshire and Sussex unable to beat the weather.

Stone and Wiese shine amid gloom in opening draw

David Wiese and Olly Stone took the individual honours as Warwickshire and Sussex had to settle for bonus points from a rain-affected draw in their opening Specsavers County Championship Division Two fixture of the season at Edgbaston.

Sussex all-rounder Wiese made the first Championship century of the season, a cleanly-hit 106 from 105 balls with 14 fours and three sixes, as his side replied to 299 with 374 all out.

He eventually fell to Stone, the seventh victim for the former Northamptonshire fast bowler who ended with a career-best eight for 80 on his home championship debut for Warwickshire.

Sussex captain Ben Brown will also take plenty from the game. His first innings as club captain brought an assured 91 against a Warwickshire attack which, Stone apart, looked understandably rusty having not had a single full day in the field in their pre-season schedule due to rain.

For the game as a contest, however, there was no way out of the cul-de-sac up which it was forced by the loss of 150 overs, including the entire first day, to the weather. Warwickshire closed on 87 for three in their second innings.

After Sussex resumed on the final morning on 194 for six, Ollie Robinson soon edged Keith Barker behind but Brown and Wiese helped themselves to important early-season time at the crease in a partnership of 155 in 30 overs.

Wiese batted forcefully from the off after coming in at number nine, hitting cleanly on his way to three figures in 91 balls – his century before lunch all the more creditable when compared to the batting travails of most counties in the opening round of matches around the country.

Barker prevented Brown reaching three figures before Stone, having taken the first six wickets on the third day, returned to add the last two, trapping Wiese in front and bowling Ishant Sharma who, having just top-edged a six, attacked again and this time missed.

Sharma, making his Sussex debut, then seized the chance to stretch his legs in the last session of the match. After Robinson knocked out Will Rhodes’ off-stump, Sharma charged in from the Pavilion End during a pacy spell which brought him the wickets of Ian Bell, caught behind, and Jonathan Trott, lbw.

Dominic Sibley stilled any Warwickshire nerves with a steady unbeaten 42 to see the game out.

Warwickshire captain Jeetan Patel said: “It was a good game for us with lots of positives. Ian Bell and Tim Ambrose batted really well and Olly Stone bowled superbly for his eight wickets, supported by some great catching behind the wicket.

“The other bowlers got some much-needed overs in their legs. It’s fair to say that, as a group, the
guys are rusty because of all the wet weather around in pre-season but there were some really good signs here.”

Sussex captain Ben Brown said: “Overall I am really proud of our performance.

“There are areas where we can improve, but to start off the season against a very good side like Warwickshire and not just go toe-to-toe but turn the game in our favour and end up pushing for an unlikely win is something we can take a huge amount from.

“David Wiese’s innings was superb. He batted with so much power and picked his shots really well, and I think to score his first hundred in the championship in England will be a huge moment for him. Conditions over here are very different and that will be a monkey off his back.”