Tom Haines Breaks Century Drought with Impressive 133 Against Northamptonshire

Tom Haines, the talented Sussex opener, broke his century drought with a stylish 133 in the recent Vitality County Championship match against Northamptonshire.

After six half-centuries last term, the opener finally converts as Northamptonshire’s attack toils by the water.

Tom Haines Breaks Century Drought with Impressive 133 Against Northamptonshire

Tom Haines, the opener for Sussex, scored 133, his first century in the Vitality County Championship since September 2022. However, a tie is expected in their match against Northamptonshire at the 1st Central County Ground.

After hitting six fifties last season without turning any of them into centuries, the 25-year-old left-hander cruised to his eighth first-class century as Sussex reached 351 for 6 at stumps on day three, 20 behind.

They were struggling at 94 for 3, but James Coles, who turned 20 this past week, enhanced his already impressive reputation by scoring a stylish 78 in a 137-run fourth-wicket stand in addition to taking three wickets.

After removing both set batsmen and Sussex captain John Simpson, left-arm spinner Saif Zaib checked Sussex’s progress. However, in the last hour, Fynn Hudson-Prentice and Danny Lamb regained the initiative with some aggressive batting. Hudson-Prentice hammered a 38-ball fifty as they added 93 from 70 balls before bad light ended the match with 7.4 overs left.

But Haines had the day. On 107, he had one tough opportunity that wicketkeeper Lewis McManus saved by diving to his left, but other than that, he appeared at ease driving or steadily accumulating off the back foot.

Prior to Clark being leg before pushing forward to off-spinner Rob Keogh, who struck again when Tom Alsop missed a delivery down the leg side which went between his legs and Lewis McManus completed an easy stumping, Haines and his new opening partner Tom Clark had opened Sussex’s reply with an unproblematic stand of 55.

The star of the Northants attack, Ben Sanderson, was unbeaten when he smacked back Oli Carter’s off stump delivery with no balls, and he repeated the feat two balls later with a valid delivery. But Haines and Coles flipped things around, with the Kookaburra offering little movement and barely a slight bend.

In order to achieve his fifty, Haines removed Australian Chris Tremain for four. Coles, showcasing his leg side talents, quickly found his rhythm, skipping down the pitch to loft Zaib over long-on for six. He gave the diving Bartlett a chance on 38, which he shelled mid-on but otherwise made calm progress. Bartlett’s day wasn’t going well because he had to leave the final practice early after Haines struck him in the helmet.

With a single off Sanderson, Haines reached his second century against Northants, and Coles seemed certain to follow, but both gave up wickets to Zaib. After facing 183 balls and hitting 19 fours, Coles hit a long hop to mid-on and Haines hammered a full toss to mid-off. Zaib took three wickets in a Championship innings for the first time since 2016 as Simpson continued to play in between.

Northants added 78 runs in an hour at the beginning of the day before being dismissed for 371. Michael Finan gave Jayden Seales his fourth wicket with a wayward drive to extra cover, giving Sussex an early lead. If Jack Carson hadn’t saved Sanderson from certain death at the fourth slip, when he still hadn’t scored, he would have made his debut five-for.

When Sanderson lost control, it would come at a high cost. He struck two boundaries in his opening over to greet Ollie Robinson, and he and McManus put on 41 at a rate of more over a run a ball for the ninth wicket.

After Sanderson (27) top-edged an attempted pull, Robinson finally got his man. However, McManus went on to make a solid fifty before being caught off a top-edge to give left-arm spinner Coles his third wicket. Seales was the most successful batsman with 4 for 86, although Robinson was happy to complete 22 overs with 2 for 67 that included seven maidens.

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