Sussex’s left-arm spinner Ashar Zaidi checked title-chasing Yorkshire’s progress with four wickets on a rain-affected third day of the LV= County Championship match at Hove.
Rain and bad light at either end of the day restricted the day’s allocation to 42 overs and Yorkshire’s hopes of making further inroads into leaders Durham’s advantage at the top of Division One suffered when they lost their last six first-innings wickets for 76 to be bowled out for 326, a lead of 34.
Ryan Sidebottom bowled Luke Wells with the third ball of Sussex’s second innings and when bad light ended play Sussex had reached 48-2, a lead of 14.
It was an excellent day for Zaidi, who is playing his first first-class game for nearly four years.
Born in Pakistan, but now English qualified, Zaidi has been playing Lancashire League cricket for Accrington this season and the 32-year-old got his opportunity after a successful trial in Sussex’s second XI last week, when he scored 192 and took six wickets.
He struck with his fourth ball yesterday when Gary Ballance’s attempted sweep ballooned up off his glove and Matt Prior came across from slip to take the catch.
Zaidi then had Adil Rashid taken at mid-on off a mis-timed drive and ended the innings when he deliberately bowled well outside off stump as Liam Plunkett came down the pitch and was easily stumped.
Zaidi finished with 4-57 while Steve Magoffin again bowled superbly after play re-started at 2.10pm.
The Queenslander reeled off 12 overs at a cost of 30 runs while picking up the wicket of nightwatchman Steve Patterson, who was caught behind when Magoffin managed to extract some extra bounce.
Kane Williamson had earlier been leg before to James Anyon without adding to his overnight 80, while Lewis Hatchett removed Sidebottom’s middle stump as he made room to play through the off-side.
Yorkshire did secure a third batting bonus point and while their lead was a modest 34, they did not take long to make inroads when Sussex went in again.
Sidebottom bowled Wells with a superb in-swinger and Sussex lost their second wicket on 33 when Yardy drove Plunkett’s fourth ball to cover where Phil Jacques took an excellent low catch.
As the light deteriorated, Yorkshire skipper Andrew Gale was forced to bowl spin at both ends but umpires Mark Benson and Steve O’Shaughnessy still considered it too dark and took the players off 45 minutes before the scheduled close.
Durham’s hopes of boosting their title challenge by winning at Derby for the first time were frustrated by a combination of accurate Derbyshire bowling and bad weather.
The leaders closed 41 runs behind on 257-4 when rain ended play early.
Scott Borthwick (89) and Will Smith (81) shared a third-wicket stand of 159 in 62 overs but Derbyshire kept them in check and the game now looks to be heading for a draw.
Lewis Gregory and Peter Trego struck twice each as Somerset strengthened their grip on the relegation clash with Surrey at Taunton.
But, to the frustration of the home side, rain allowed only 29.2 overs on day three and they now face a race against time to press home their advantage, with Surrey 97-4 in their second innings, a lead of 32.
The third day of the match between third-placed Middlesex and fourth-from-bottom Nottinghamshire at Lord’s was called off without a ball being bowled.
In Division Two, Lancashire and Leicestershire were frustrated by the weather as only 40 overs were possible on day three at Old Trafford.
When the rain arrived at 2pm, the bottom county were 60 for three from 22 overs in reply to Lancashire’s 453-7 declared in their first innings.