Head Coach Jason Gillespie has praised the “Test standard” bowling performance by Ollie Robinson that has helped fire Sussex’s promotion challenge.
Robinson, 25, took ten wickets on his return to the side after two games out with a shoulder injury, as Sussex beat Middlesex by an innings and 50 runs to claim their first Specsavers County Championship victory at Lord’s since 2005. A second win of the season has left them into third place in Division Two ahead of next Tuesday’s game against Gloucestershire at Arundel.
Robinson took seven for 98 in Middlesex’s second innings and Gillespie, who knows a thing or two about fast bowling, said: “In county cricket that was as close to Test match standard bowling as you will see, it was absolutely fantastic.
“Ollie’s been out for a while and is still getting his rhythm back but he can still land the ball consistently on a good length and get enough seam movement. He was absolutely brilliant.”
Robinson has revealed that he aims to hit the top of off stump between 65-75% per innings and the club’s analysts have backed this up during their own research. Last season, when he picked up seven for 58 – also against Middlesex – at Hove, 79% of his deliveries would have hit the top of off.
“Ollie is a point of difference,” added Gillespie. “The percentage of balls he bowls that are on that good off-stump line and length are fantastic. We bowled very well as a unit throughout the match. We stuck to our process, kept charging in and the result came our way.”
With its spongey, strength-sapping surface, Arundel is always a physically demanding week for bowlers, but Robinson says they will head there in good heart. It’s a venue that has been good to Sussex in recent years – they have only lost once in the Championship since 2011.
“As a unit this week was the best we’ve bowled for a long time,” said Robinson. “In the past, it’s been one or two who have bowled well but this week everyone who was asked to bowl did really well and that’s what helped us to get the win in the end.”
Gillespie was also delighted for skipper Ben Brown whose 107 in the first innings was his third successive Championship hundred. He has also taken 12 catches in his past two games.
“That innings probably changed the momentum of the game,” added Gillespie. “And his leadership is spot on. Being captain, keeping and batting in the top six is a lot of responsibility and its testament to his qualities that he is doing all those things so well.”
Sussex will probably have to make one enforced change against Gloucestershire.
Opener Phil Salt split the webbing between his thumb and finger on his left hand and was having surgery today. Tom Haines, who scored his maiden Championship hundred at Arundel last year, is his likely replacement.