Coach says Sussex are improving all the time after they miss out on first win

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Archie Lenham celebrates a wicket at Leicestershire. Picture by John Mallett
Archie Lenham celebrates a wicket at Leicestershire. Picture by John Mallett

Ian Salisbury says his young Sussex side are improving week by week.

But he is frustrated to see them still searching for a first Championship win.

The county were held to a draw at Leicestershire after building a first-innings lead of 240.

The hosts were nine down and leading by 93 when hands were shaken at the end of a rain-interrupted last day.

Sussex had gone into day four looking well-placed for a first Championship win since the second game of last season.

But those hopes gradually fizzled out.

Head coach Salisbury said: “It was a cracking game of cricket and I’m really happy with how we performed.

“I wanted a response to the last day defeat against Middlesex last week and we got that.

“The weather didn’t help us and they resisted well.

“We created enough chances to have won it, the ball just didn’t go to hand.

“Losing the overs to the rain was frustrating, it made a huge difference, and if I’m honest I don’t think it rained that much, but the rules are the rules.

“Then the light closing in - as soon as we couldn’t use the pace bowlers, we knew we wouldn’t be able to bat anyway.”

Sussex take a break from their hectic Championship season as Test world champions New Zealand visit Hove from Friday.

The county are likely to make changes but the showpiece four-day game will be a great chance for Sussex youngsters to gain more experience.

Tom Clarke, the 21-year-old all-rounder from Haywards Heath, scored his second century of the season in the Grace Road draw.

Teenage spinner Archie Lenham scored 48 in the Sussex innings and then took 4-84, including a burst of 3-8 just before tea on Saturday.

Sussex dominated despite limited contributions for once from Cheteshwar Pujara and Ollie Robinson.

Salisbury said: “As a team we’ve improved week on week for the last six weeks and we’re looking to take that into the game against New Zealand.

“Ollie Robinson wasn’t himself all match after the food poisoning. He just couldn’t perform, the sickness affected him massively.”

Lenham, the Eastbourne-born 17-year-old, clearly loved his all-round role. He said: “Two PBs so a good day for me, luckily, though I was a bit annoyed to get out on 48.

“But never mind, I had a dream start with the ball and those three wickets got us right back in the game.

“I felt Azad’s wicket was key, because he was playing really well, and to then get two in two was really nice because it was still basically a very nice pitch to bat on.

“There is a little bit of turn though, for Delray (Rawlins) and me.”

He added: “I just feel lucky to be playing first-class cricket early in my career, and I’m loving it.

“That said it feels like a long day and I’m pretty tired but basically loving every second of it.”

Tickets for all three days against New Zealand are on sale via sussexcricket.co.uk.

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